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Safety for one Space and Missile Defense Command team member is an award-winning mission.

Garry Freeman, general engineer and laser safety officer in the SMDC Technical Center, received the Director of Army Safety Risk Management Award, Sept. 27.

“I am in shock,” Freeman said. “It is a great privilege to receive an award for something you have done. I didn’t expect this, I was just doing my job.

“When I see something that is wrong I speak up and correct it. I don’t like people getting hurt, and I don’t want to get hurt. People come to work for a paycheck and not for bodily injuries. Being safe may slow you up for just a little bit but in the end everyone will appreciate it.”

Freeman received the award for his contributions to Army readiness through risk management when he observed a contractor being exposed to potential thermal hazards while conducting a tearing-down process. Freeman determined that there was no formal safety process in place during the test and therefore, no mitigation measures were in place for risk reduction.

Because of Freeman’s immediate intervention actions, the contractor conducted a personal protective equipment assessment and a job hazard analysis. The data collected from these studies resulted in a revised formal safety process and risk mitigation plan that was immediately implemented.

“Mr. Freeman has served as a laser safety officer in the command for many years and has always been proactive when it comes to identifying and mitigating safety hazards,” Bobby Taylor, SMDC Safety Office director, said. “It’s definitely an honor for our office that Garry has received this award. It just shows that we are on the right track when it comes to implementing safety. I think it sends a strong message to the workforce on the importance of maintaining a safe environment and the value that the command places on its workforce.”

Thomas Webber, SMDC Technical Center director, said he was happy Freeman was properly recognized for his actions and appreciated SMDC Commander Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler for taking the time to present the award. Webber said having the commanding general there shows the importance and commitment to safety at the highest levels across SMDC.

“This is a tremendous honor for Garry and appropriate recognition for doing the right thing when it comes to safety in the workplace,” Webber said. “Garry is a valued member and his actions reflect very positively on him and the Tech Center. It is everyone’s responsibility to act when they see an unsafe condition and Garry did exactly that. Tech Center operating procedures were changed as a result to further ensure we maintain a safe environment.

“I am very proud of Garry. Garry did the right thing when he saw the potential for a fellow co-worker to be injured. This is what we need every member of the team to do. If you see something unsafe, speak up. ‘People First’ are not just words, it’s action when we see discrimination, harassment, and in Garry’s case, something unsafe.”

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