Carter G. Woodson Award luncheon recognizes outstanding federal, community members

By Craig M. Rader DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s Equal Employment Opportunity office hosted an award luncheon Feb. 21 at Defense Supply Center Columbus to recognize notable contributions to the African American community.

The event marked the 29th year the Defense Federal Community has presented the Carter G. Woodson Award, named in honor of the prominent African American author and historian. Woodson is known as the Father of Black History and was a proponent of cultural education and civic-mindedness.

Each year the award honors a member of the Columbus, Ohio community at large and a federal employee or military member for action that made a positive impact on the African American community during the previous year.

“The theme for this year’s luncheon comes from a quote by Booker T. Washington,” said Cassandra McDuff, champion of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Columbus African American Employment Program. “The African American leader told us that success always leaves footprints, and we’re basing our program today on that idea.”

The luncheon was part of the installation’s celebration of African American/Black History Month. More than 175 guests attended the event, which included remarks from Bishop Mel Griffin, founder and pastor of Resurrection Ministries for All People in Pickerington, Ohio.

A musical performance by the Fort Hayes Career Center student jazz band welcomed the crowd to the buffet-style lunch and the DSCC Federal Choir sang the National Anthem to kick off the event.

“If footprints are in front of us and show us the path, but we choose not to follow or accept the opportunity, whose fault is it?” asked Griffin during his remarks. “Everyone in this room has greatness inside them, but if we don’t take advantage of the footsteps leading us to our own success, we’ll never leave our own for others to follow.”

DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Commander Steven Alsup presented Griffin with a framed copy of the luncheon brochure and thanked him on behalf of the agency for his participation in the event.

The luncheon culminated with the announcement of the Carter G. Woodson Award winners.

Community nominees included Charles Tennant, founder of Africentric Early College, and Oletha Waugh from the Columbus Urban League.

The federal employee nominees consisted of Shawn Colvin, Vivian Filias, Robert Woods, Ealnor Grey, Donald Smith, Gloria Milliner and Mary Harper-Thomas.

Tennant was announced as the winner in his category, in part due to his pioneering efforts in building an Africentric school for more than 300 Pre-K through 12th grade students.

Milliner received the Woodson award in the federal employee category for her efforts to develop, implement and manage a training strategy for the entire DLA workforce. Her efforts resulted in the establishment of more than 1,000 course offerings at 80 locations.

“It’s a blessing to give back to this organization through my work,” Milliner said. “On our gravestones we’ll all end up with a dash between our birth date and the day we leave this world. I want my dash to count – how about you?”

The luncheon was immediately followed by an interactive panel discussion titled Things You Need to Know, with perspectives from Lashana Crone, a DLA human resources specialist, Derrick Shelton, superintendent of Columbus Arts and Technology Academy and Alesia Gillison, chief academic officer of Columbus City Schools.