They lead their units by example. They are the first sergeants.

Since 2005 the Association of the U.S. Army, Redstone-Huntsville Chapter, has honored first sergeants for taking care of Soldiers and their families. David Carney, a retired sergeant first class, created the Sergeant John Ordway Leadership Awards for the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Ordway served as first sergeant on that expedition.

In 15 years, 45 first sergeants have been recognized. The 15th annual Sergeant John Ordway Leadership Awards and Recognition Breakfast was held Thursday at the Jackson Center. Nearly 70 people attended the event sponsored by Boeing and the Redstone Arsenal Sergeants Major Association.

“The first sergeant is the role model for all the NCOs and Soldiers within the organization,” guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Dove, the command sergeant major for Aviation and Missile Command, said.

This year’s honorees included: Active duty, 1st Sgt. Stacey McCarty of Huntsville Recruiting Company; Reserve, Master Sgt. Kelvin Eades, the first sergeant for 5th Medical Brigade HHC in Birmingham; and National Guard, 1st Sgt. Anthony Eggleston of Company C, 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Huntsville.

“It’s really an honor and a privilege to first even be nominated for it,” Eades said. “Being recognized for just taking care of Soldiers is something that’s just our basic responsibilities.

“I don’t take this award lightly.”

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