News | Jan. 17, 2020

DLA Aviation marks MLK Day with call to service

By Natalie Skelton DLA Aviation Public Affairs

The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. is multifaceted, but one of his lasting messages has been one of public service. Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, in conjunction with its Strategic Acquisition Directorate, is celebrating MLK Day — a national day of service — with a call to employees to put on their community service hats and make life a little better for their fellow men and women.


DLA Aviation’s EEOD is asking employees to submit short stories accompanied by photos of volunteer activities. Submissions are to be sent to with the subject line “MLK Day of Service.”


Community service is intertwined with MLK Day precisely because of the organization that has been tasked with leading the efforts. The Corporation for National and Community Service is responsible for publicizing and coordinating service efforts nationwide, operating under the theme “Make it a day on, not a day off!”


Hundreds of organizations and individuals come together to host service events or volunteer on the day of service. In 2018, over a third of Americans donated and helped prepare food; 26% served in a mentoring capacity; and 23% provided transportation and labor support.


America’s military is a volunteer force; likewise, the work that support agencies like DLA provide also comes from individuals who willingly dedicate their time and efforts to the betterment of their community and to the workplace.


A study by Syracuse University explored the connection between military service and volunteering, and it found that veterans are more likely to volunteer than civilians who have not served. The study surmises that volunteering provides a similar sense of purpose, which many veterans may not otherwise find after transitioning away from active duty service.


On Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, at the heart of MLK Day and every day is the practice of inclusiveness among employees and visitors alike. Since he assumed command of DLA Aviation, Air Force Brig. Gen. David Sanford has prioritized respect and inclusion as integral to the activity’s culture. Workplace surveys nationwide continue to reveal respect for employees as a top contributor to overall job satisfaction. Employees, these surveys show, view inclusion and respect for diverse backgrounds and skills as key components of respect.


The Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity invites installation leaders to partner with its staff throughout the year on ideas for team-building activities between supervisors and direct reports. The office also recommends annual training for supervisors and teams, quarterly peer reviews and quarterly evaluations, as well as town halls.