Three employees have been named Civilians of the Year as they strive to be the best at supporting those defending the high ground.
The Space and Missile Defense Command named its 2019 Civilians of the Year: April Pellegrino, operations officer, SMDC Army Space Personnel Development Office, for supporting staff category; Carrie David Campbell, public affairs specialist, SMDC Public Affairs, for the professional/technical category; and John Schocke, SMDC headquarters deputy chief of staff, for the technical/technical management category.
Pellegrino was nominated for processing more than 800 Army Space Badge requests as well as 700 3Y space cadre skill identifier/additional skill identifiers. She successfully rewrote the Army Space Personnel Development Office procedural guide on “Procedures for Awarding the Space Badge to Army Personnel.”
In her personal time, Pellegrino is a member of the Restoration Church in Fountain, Colorado, where she supports the church nursery. Additionally, she volunteers at Mesa Elementary School in Fountain with after-school functions.
“I was totally surprised, I was not expecting an award at all but really appreciate it,” Pellegrino said. “It is good to see that hard work does not go unnoticed. These types of awards, in my opinion, are important to the organization to build morale.”
Campbell was nominated for her efforts in developing and editing the publication of the command’s “Global Defender” guidebook. She also initiated a relationship with the Department of the Army Online and Social Media Division in order to better share SMDC material in a timely manner. Campbell also traveled to command sites in Korea, Okinawa and Japan to document Soldiers conducting their missions through photography and developing articles to share Armywide.
In her personal time, Campbell serves as a creative arts team volunteer at her local church, Friendship United Methodist Church in Athens. She is also involved with the Alabama Veterans Museum in Athens, and she has supported command Gold Star family events since 2012.
“I felt honored just knowing my supervisor thought enough of me and the work I do to submit me for consideration, and I was happy just with that,” Campbell said. “An honor such as this just wouldn’t be possible without good leadership. Not only does our supervisor, Lira Frye, encourage us and support us, but she is also our biggest champion. I also work with a really great team of people, both internally to public affairs and throughout the command as a whole.
“Together we are able to accomplish so much more than we can individually, I feel very honored to receive this award, but more than that, every day I feel blessed to work here at SMDC and with these wonderful civilians and Soldiers who comprise our team.
“I am an Army brat and grew up on military installations around the world,” Campbell added. “I often think of how my father would treat his Soldiers with respect and love, and that impressed itself into my heart over the years. Our Soldiers are America’s greatest blessing, so every day I get to come to work to support and promote them is a good day.”
Schocke was nominated for his duties as deputy chief of staff for a strategic command that operates globally in 11 different time zones in more than 23 separate locations and is responsible for the day-to-day synchronization of the headquarters staff and interaction with multiple external organizations to ensure mission accomplishment. He has been a linchpin in establishing enduring relationships with emerging organizations that have supported the secretary of the Army’s transformation efforts.
In his personal time, Schocke is a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Huntsville where he spends his free time giving back to the community through multiple events the church sponsors throughout the year.
“It is an honor to even be nominated and a higher honor to win,” Schocke said. “In an organization with many professionals, being recognized in this manner is very humbling. The team is why I won. My efforts are to make sure the team has the resources they need to accomplish their mission, but the team does the actual heavy lifting. They are the true winners.
“I very much did not expect this. Coming from a logistical background, knowing my skill set and leadership style in this highly technical organization resulted in this recognition is very rewarding. It makes me want to continue serving and addressing and solving new issues as they arise.
“I am very grateful to those who nominated and selected me and even more grateful for the great group of individuals that support myself and the chief of staff on a daily basis,” Schocke added. “Do your best daily. Stick to your morals. Do what you feel is right, even if not the easy choice. Always put the overall mission first. If you do these things, good results will always occur.”
Schocke and Campbell were recognized in a ceremony at SMDC’s Redstone Arsenal headquarters Nov. 20. Pellegrino was recognized at SMDC’s Peterson Air Force Base headquarters Nov. 15. Schocke and Campbell will also be nominees for Association of the U.S. Army Redstone-Huntsville Chapter’s Department of the Army Civilian of the Year Award.