A legend retires; her legacy continues

By Dana Thornbury DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

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Nothing is ever truly over, it’s just passed on to the next generation. This was especially true when it came to Sherry Low’s retirement as the Issue Division chief.

two men facing each other on stage with their right hands raised
DLA Disposition Director Mike Cannon administers the Oath of Office to Justin Low during his mother's retirement ceremony Jan. 7.
two men facing each other on stage with their right hands raised
Justin Low recieves Oath of Office
DLA Disposition Director Mike Cannon administers the Oath of Office to Justin Low during his mother's retirement ceremony Jan. 7.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-037
Sherry Low provided 40 years of service to the federal government; however, her legacy extends beyond the strides she made for the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services. Her legacy continues with her son, Justin.

“Sherry made a special request to have [DLA Disposition Services Director Mike] Cannon administer the Oath of Office to her son, Justin,” said Sherri Underwood, the event’s emcee and Low’s coworker. “Like his mom, Justin started his government career with DLA right out of high school. After a few years, he accepted a job with another company. He returned to DLA in August 2018 to work in our Environmental Division. Somehow, we missed giving Justin his Oath of Office.”

Cannon provided Justin with his Oath of Office and kicked off the farewell remarks to Sherry.

“I think it’s especially fitting that Sherry gets to hand off her lifetime of service to her son,” Cannon said as he recalled being able to do the same for his son five years ago.

Arthur Welsh, director of operations, gave the keynote address, recounting significant milestones in Low’s career.

Two men and a woman stand on stage with a flag in a box
Sherry Low is presented a flag flown over the Pentagon and the Hart Dole Inouye Federal Center as a retirement gift during her ceremony Jan. 7.
Two men and a woman stand on stage with a flag in a box
Sherry Low's retirement
Sherry Low is presented a flag flown over the Pentagon and the Hart Dole Inouye Federal Center as a retirement gift during her ceremony Jan. 7.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-148
Low’s career was unique for a federal employee. She rose in the government ranks while remaining with the same agency, DLA Disposition Services. She started with Defense Property Disposal Service as a general salary-2 temporary clerk typist in 1979 working for the Personnel Directorate in Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1980, she became a permanent federal clerk typist. From there, her career continued to progress. She held various positions in the Reutilization, Transfer and Donation Branch and throughout the agency until passing the torch January 7, concluding her career as the Issue Division Chief, GS-14.

Low worked all aspects of equipment reuse and became the lead for specialized programs. She was involved in the creation of the Humanitarian Assistance Program, the Pennsylvania Equipment Centers and the stand up of the Regional Logistical Support Office, better known now as the Law Enforcement Support Office.

Throughout her career, Low not only made an impact on DLA Disposition Services, but her colleagues as well. This was evident during the standing-room only program. Welsh asked for a show of hands for those that Low has passed down her “pearls of wisdom” to and there wasn’t a person in the audience that didn’t raise a hand.

“It’s not work, if you love what you do,” Low said. “There hasn’t been too many days in my 40 years that I didn’t want to come to work here because I do love what I do. I love my job, love the mission and love this agency.”

Low told the story of her mom driving her to the building 40 years ago and how Low never left. She encouraged others to find their self-worth as she did in the RTD mission. She shared her leadership tips as a parting request, as many have inquired about her methods over the years.

Mascots stand with Sherry Low and lady holding a picture
Two mascots came out of retirement to wish Sherry Low well wishes on her retirement and present her a picture of the Hart Dole Inouye Federal Center.
Mascots stand with Sherry Low and lady holding a picture
Sherry Low's retirement
Two mascots came out of retirement to wish Sherry Low well wishes on her retirement and present her a picture of the Hart Dole Inouye Federal Center.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-140
“Sherry’s singular focus is to ensure our customers understand how we can best serve them and accomplish the mission,” Welsh said. “Now, many years after her humble beginnings as a Temporary GS-2, Sherry is turning over her responsibilities in hopes the organization and her valued staff will continue to believe ‘Warfighter First, Warfighter Always.’”

Several presentations followed Welsh’s address, including a State of Michigan Tribute, letters of appreciation, the DLA Distinguished Career Award, DLA Disposition Distinguished Alumni recognition, DLA Gold Letter status, the DLA Meritorious Civilian Career Award, her official retirement certificate and plaque as well as numerous gifts.

Concluding the ceremony, Cannon issued Low her own DD Form 1348, the most important document when interacting with DLA Disposition Services. The 1348 reissued Low to her family after 40 years of service. The form highlights included the adjusted total value as priceless and her home address as “1 Leave Me Alone Lane.”

poster board with newspaper clippings
Sherry Low's retirement poster
Newspaper clippings over the years highlighting Sherry Low's accomplishments.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-001
newspaper clippings on yellow poster
Sherry Low's retirement poster
Newspaper clippings over the years highlighting Sherry Low's accomplishments.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-003
three women in front of table with posters and binders, one looks at the binders
Sherry Low's retirement poster
Coworkers take a look at scrapbook highlights of Sherry Low's accomplishments.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-005
cake made to look like the board game life
Sherry Low's retirement poster
Sherry Low's retirement cake that outlined her life and career into game style pieces.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-007
a yellow and green shirt mascot walk down the isle in the audience
Sherry Low's retirement
Two mascots came out of retirement to wish Sherry Low well wishes on her retirement.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 200107-D-OS362-136