Distribution's Thompson awarded David Ennis Community Service Award

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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Donnie Thompson, chief of deployments and training, DLA Distribution Headquarters has been awarded the Global Distribution Excellence David Ennis DLA Distribution Community Service Award for 2016.

Thompson was nominated and eventually selected for the award due to his selfless contributions, not just for the 2016 calendar year, but also for his many years of community service for homeless veterans and others. He exemplifies the perfect blend of dedicated civil service and community involvement. Additionally, he excels in his day-to-day work performance as the chief of deployments and training for Distribution’s J9 directorate.

“Donnie is an exceptional individual and relied upon by his community through his volunteer service as a promoter of information for veteran’s rights and benefits,” explains Ed Visker, director of Distribution’s Organizational Management and J9.

Many veterans, especially those who served in combat zones, leave the military with significant physical and emotional wounds, making the transition to civilian life difficult. Unfortunately, one of the largest groups of America’s homeless population is veterans. Thompson knows there are too many of our nation’s heroes living on the streets.

Every January, Thompson participates in a homeless veteran stand-down in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Local Veterans of Foreign Wars get together with the YWCA and the Veterans Administration and bringing veterans off the street from Friday to Sunday, feed them three meals a day and provide the opportunity to shower.

Throughout the year, Thompson participates in clothing drives and underwear and sock drops to stock up for this special weekend with the homeless vets. During the event, many veterans’ advocates are onsite to help the veterans with any issues they may have.

In July 2016, Thompson was approached to help veterans in the community of Steelton, Pennsylvania. He supported a Veterans Outreach Day at Beulah’s Baptist Church. The VFW Post 1620 from Middletown, Pennsylvania, provided the food for this event. Some state and federal veteran service officers and the PA Wounded Warrior organization were brought in to be available to any veterans struggling, or who needed to learn about their benefit entitlements.

Additionally, every December, Thompson volunteers to support the DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania Children’s Christmas Party. Susquehanna teams up with approximately 10 local school districts to gather names of children who come from less fortunate families. In 2016, there were over 70 children in attendance. The day is filled with activities such as face painting, games, coloring, clowns, a visit from Santa Clause and a pizza party. They also get the chance to write Christmas cards to troops who are deployed. Finally, the children are given a backpack full of gifts and escorted to their buses by soldiers and local fire fighters.

Furthermore, Thompson provided leadership, organization and action to his community for the past 12 years. Dedicated to America’s veterans, he assumed duties as VFW commander. Under his leadership, the VFW was recognized as the All American Post, which places them in the top seven percent in the nation.

“After working a full day in a very demanding position as a mobilization team lead, he spends his evening hours volunteering at his local VFW and leads the rebuilding efforts which require significant time and attention,” said Visker.

As a Gulf War veteran, Thompson considers his service and work within the community to be his purpose. He looks upon challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

“Mr. Thompson is most deserving of this prestigious award. He is the epitome of selfless devotion,” said Visker. “He is a passionate person who constantly strives to improve the community for his fellow vets, while maintaining an atmosphere of fairness, cooperation, dignity and respect. His efforts truly represent the spirit of Mr. Ennis.”