Twenty-five personnel received Department of Defense Disability Achievement and Recognition Awards at a Pentagon ceremony, Oct. 4. 

Kevin Kelly, deputy director, Office of Force Resiliency, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, provided opening remarks, commending DoD’s advancement of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Strength through diversity “As leaders, it is our job to attract, recruit and retain a strong and disciplined workforce in order to ensure the readiness and lethality of our military,” Kelly said. “Strength can only be found within diversity -- diversity of thought, skills, experience and perspective. A workforce of solely like-minded individuals breeds nothing but status quo and complacency. It is in our diverse perspectives and experiences that we advance. It is in our ability to bring together shared goals, but unique perspectives, that we remain at the forefront of innovation.” 

Each October, the DoD celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The commemorative month has its origins in 1945. During the World War II era, as Service members with disabilities from the war began to return home, the American public became increasingly interested in the workplace participation of people with disabilities, Kelly said. That launched a weeklong celebration during the first week in October 1945, and later was extended to the month. 

This year’s theme, “America’s Workforce: Empowering All,” highlights the importance of the full participation of all people in the total workforce, he said. Fundamental to mission readiness is promoting an environment free from personal, social or institutional barriers that prevent personnel from rising to the highest possible level of responsibility commensurate with their abilities. 

Individual awardees 

Army: Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan W. Hosley; Staff Sgt. Jason T. Pacheco; Tracy Tao-Moore; Nathan “Dale” Whittaker 

Navy: Donna Spaddy, Jerry Boster 

Air Force: Master Sgt. Benjamin G. Seekell, Christopher Ferrell 

Office of the Secretary of Defense, defense agencies, and DoD field activities: Susan “Jen” Haggerty, Office of the DoD Chief Information Officer; Sally Davis, Defense Logistics Agency; Elveda Pitts, Defense Contract Management Agency; Darryl Bartlett, Missile Defense Agency; Gregory Sampson, Office of the DoD Inspector General; Margaret Posa, Office of the Deputy Inspector General; Edna Johnson, Washington Headquarters Services; Gail Potts, Pentagon Force Protection Agency; Katherine Rose, Defense Contract Audit Agency; Doriann Sison, Department of Defense Education Activity; Sandra Brown, Defense Commissary Agency; Joy Atkinson, Army and Air Force Exchange Services; Patrick Jue, National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency; Richard Neth, National Security Agency; Robert Dela Rosa, Defense Security Service; Jan Bickhart, Defense Intelligence Agency; Karren Brunell, Defense Finance and Accounting Service 

DoD Component awardees: Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Technical Information Center, National Security Agency, Air Force.