July events in Cereal City showcase All American themes

By Ken MacNevin DLA Disposition Services

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An All-American Day celebration and some recognition from the city government of Battle Creek, Michigan, helped Defense Logistics Agency employees at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center show their “red, white and blue” spirit as they recognized diversity and the local workforce’s efforts to help the community during middle weeks of July.

The All-American Day kicked off the events July 14. Developed by the DLA Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity in Battle Creek, the celebration began with remarks from Don Phillips, the DLA Installation Support site director. Phillips said the purpose of the event was to recognize and honor all Americans and the diversity of the collective American family. In the process, he added that “we are embracing, developing and growing our cultural heritage as Americans.”

“By fostering an inclusive workplace, where diversity and individual differences are valued,” Phillips said. “We are leveraging this diversity and commonality to achieve the DLA Mission, Vision and Values.”

People attending the program were also urged to sign up to serve on one of the Special Emphasis Program committees that work with the EEO staff. The celebration at the All-American event also included a performance by the Cereal City Concert Band. The band played the Star-Spangled Banner to open the event and then came back with 30 minutes of classic brass band music. They closed the program with John Phillips Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”  

The band began at the federal center as an employee band called Uncle Sam’s Band. A small core of long time players from the center continue with the band today. Retirees Heather Lane-Fowler and Barb Myckowiak and current DLA employees Kathy Philo and Erin Donnelly were among the 23 members of the group.

The “red, white, and blue” spirit carried over to a July 22 retirement ceremony where DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon was surprised with the chance to take a break from handing out awards to accept one on behalf of the workforce.  

Retiring DLA Disposition Services employee Wendy Kropp surprised Cannon with the “Beautiful Battle Creek Award.”  The award from the city recognizes the federal center for neighborhood improvements through beautification and involvement in neighborhood projects.  The award citation signed by Battle Creek Mayor Dave Walters said that the people of the center were “acting as an example to others in contributing to the community-wide goal of improving the quality of life for Battle Creek’s citizens.”

In accepting the award, Cannon noted that while the center’s facilities are operated by the federal General Services Administration that maintains the center’s buildings and grounds, almost all the people at the center work for DLA or support its Battle Creek operations while also taking part in a wide variety of community betterment activities.

Kropp got the idea to surprise her director when she went to Battle Creek City Hall earlier in the month to accept an award unrelated to her federal work and learned that the city government also had an award for the Federal Center. Kropp volunteered to get it presented properly and adapted the retirement event recognizing her 32 years of service to include a proper presentation of the city’s honor to the center’s senior official.

While they happened a week apart, both July events were all about people working to do the right thing and help others in an All-American way.