BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
DLA Disposition Services Battle Creek Headquarters Training Coordinator and Lead Training Coordinator for Disposition Services Field Training Coordinators
Battle Creek, Michigan
Can you tell us about yourself? I am a widow, married 47 years. I am a mother of three, two daughters and a son. I’m a grandmother. I am of Native American heritage and I follow ancient Native American culture and participate in many Native American events. I am a cancer survivor.
Describe your job in a sentence or two. I am the DLA Disposition Services headquarters training coordinator and lead training coordinator for all DLA Disposition Services field training coordinators. I work directly with leadership, field training coordinators, DLA training, the Learning Management System team, and employees to provide training support for all training requirements.
Additional Activities: I was the Native American Program committee chairperson for nine years. Currently I am a Native American cultural advisor, when needed.
How long have you worked for the federal government, including military service? I have worked 16 years as a government employee and two years as a contractor supporting the government.
How long have you worked for DLA Disposition Services? I have worked with DLA Disposition Services for 14 years.
What is your favorite thing about your line of work? I have been able travel and work with some amazing individuals from all over the world, to provide the best customer support I can so the warfighters can complete their mission.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? We are all here to support the warfighter.
What do you think about when you hear “Native American Heritage Month?” Native American Heritage Month is an opportunity to honor Native Americans accomplishments and culture, to educate people about Native Americans’ rich culture, accomplishments and injustices that have been inflicted upon them. I held the position of Native American Program chairperson for nine years and over those years I tried to bring very influential Native American people from several communities throughout Michigan to share their knowledge and culture with Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center employees.
Tell us something unique about your heritage or country of origin. I am of Native American and English Heritage. My Native American heritage is from the Powatan Nation, the Cree Nation, and the Cherokee Nation. My English heritage is from Walls, England, and other areas within the country. My Powatan heritage comes to me from my 12th great-grandmother, Pocahontas. My husband was of the Mohawk Nation and a well-known family: his 4th great-grandfather was Chief Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea, of the Mohawks. These family cultures were very active in the Native American community.
What is one thing you’d like others to know about your heritage. I would like others to know that my Native American heritage is a very rich culture that is a way of life, respecting all creation, living in harmony with all living things and taking care of others and our environment.
Why is it important to you that we celebrate Native American heritage? It is important to celebrate Native American heritage so we can educate people about true Native American culture, accomplishments and injustices faced by Native Americans, in hopes that folks will get a better understanding and respect for native people so injustices aren’t perpetuated against another group of people again.
What challenges do Native Americans face today and how can understanding history help us overcome them? There are many challenges Native Americans face today, such as impoverishment, unemployment, violence against women and children, access to education, poor quality of housing, lack of clean water, inadequate health care, barriers to exercising their voting rights, indigenous languages becoming extinct, limited numbers of financial institutions in Native communities, exploitation of natural resources, and reservation lands being sold or given to others without their knowledge. Through programs that encourage education and awareness and that bring light to the issues, folks can get a better understanding and hopefully help bridge the gaps for Natives.
Who’s your biggest influence? I don’t think I ever had a specific person as my biggest influence. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always tried to be a positive, respectful, honest, compassionate, and happy person.
Name your favorite/recent book(s) you have read. Recent books I have read include “Life,” a memoir by Keith Richards. My husband was a musician. I've also read, “And Grandma Said … Iroquois Teachings.” I recently started “Kayanerenko:wa, The Great Law of Peace.”
Tell us something that most people might not know about you. I was the Native American chairperson for DLA Disposition Services Native American Program committee for nine years. In those years, I brought in many well-known and respected Native American artists, professionals, and activists for the programs. They shared their knowledge, wisdom, songs and dances, and other talents with our workforce. My husband Ron Komondy, of the Mohawk Nation, also provided presentations and invocations for the programs over those years.
What was your first job? My first job was babysitting. My first government job was a direct secretary for Col. Frank Walker, who worked for DLA Logistics Information Service and later became the DLA Installation Support director. I have to say that Walker was the best boss I ever had. I had a great opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people as a direct secretary for him. When I was offered a promotion working for someone else, I was really torn because I enjoyed my job so much and Walker told me he couldn’t keep me from a promotion, he told me I needed to go, that I deserved grow and go as far as I could. I remember those words today from a great boss.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a schoolteacher when I grew up.
Who is your hero? My late husband Ron Komondy is my hero. During my cancer battle, my husband was with me every step of the way, including driving me out of state and staying during extensive procedures and treatment. Soon after my recovery, we discovered that my husband developed cancer; long distance drives and stays continued, with extensive treatments. During this entire time, my husband was able to keep a great outlook and sense of humor, which he spread throughout the cancer treatment center. After doctors determined that a second, incurable cancer had invaded his system, he continued to be strong and have a great outlook and sense of humor and for that, he is my hero.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? If I could choose to do anything for a day, it would be to spend another day with my husband.
What are your hobbies? I have many hobbies, but my favorite is road trips.
What is your favorite quote? My favorite quote is from a Rolling Stones song. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you find you get what you need.”
Employee and leadership spotlight regularly features outstanding personnel from throughout the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services and other DLA organizations located at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan. Organizational directors may submit feature request to DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs.