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News | Oct. 19, 2016

Land and Maritime leader recognized for service to the blind

By Craig M. Rader DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

A Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime senior executive received an award for his efforts to create and sustain jobs for people who are blind.

The National Association for the Employment of People who are Blind and National Industries for the Blind presented Acquisition Executive Milton Lewis with a plaque during a small ceremony Oct. 6 in the Operations Center at Defense Supply Center Columbus.

The Department of Defense Customer Appreciation Award recognizes employees within government agencies who demonstrate a commitment to promoting economic independence for the blind.

“I’m pleased to accept this award,” Lewis said. “But really what this represents is the amazing contributions of the entire team at Land and Maritime who work each day to support our programs that allow people with disabilities to work together.”

Lewis was announced as the award winner Sept. 16 during the 2016 NIB/NAEPB National Conference and Expo in Arlington, VA.

“This award is a reflection of the outstanding leadership at DLA Land and Maritime,” John Qua, senior vice president of operations for NIB said.

“The commitment that your organization has made to providing jobs for people who are blind will greatly enhance their economic independence and allow them to live more fulfilling lives.”

Earlier that day Lewis recognized a group of visually impaired contract closeout specialists during Land and Maritime’s 2016 AbilityOne recognition ceremony.  AbilityOne is a national network of more than 600 nonprofit agencies that employ more than 40,000 disabled people.

The team of nine contract closeout specialists included six with varying degrees of blindness and during a three-year period they successfully closed more than 3,500 contracts.

The team members first came to Land and Maritime through a contract initiated with the AbilityOne program, and all six visually impaired members were ultimately hired permanently as full time DLA employees. 

In 2015, Land and Maritime committed more than $12 million to the AbilityOne program through employment contracts.