DeCA’s Turner among recipients of SecDef Award for Outstanding Employees, Service Members with Disabilities
FORT LEE, Va. – John Turner III, assistant commissary officer at the Fort Bragg North Commissary in North Carolina, was honored as one of 21 recipients of the 2021 Secretary of Defense Awards for Outstanding Department of Defense Employees and Service Members with Disabilities on Oct. 7.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards ceremony was streamed from the Pentagon with awardees participating in the ceremony virtually.
This year’s awards mark 41 years of the Department of Defense recognizing its employees and service members with disabilities. Every year since October 1981, DOD has honored those who have made significant contributions to the Department’s mission and best demonstrate the core values of their respective DOD components.
DOD has set a goal for its agencies that 2 percent of the workforce be made up of people with targeted disabilities, which are considered more serious health conditions. About 12.26 percent of the DeCA permanent workforce has a reportable disability and 2.28 percent have severe or “targeted” disabilities.
“John Turner has made outstanding contributions to DeCA's mission through his work at the Fort Bragg North Commissary and in the surrounding community,” said Bill Moore, DeCA’s director and CEO. “John’s commitment to service has distinguished him as a valuable employee who is deserving of recognition as a DOD Outstanding Disabled Employee of the Year.”
Turner retired from the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) this summer. He was chosen from five submissions from across the agency to be the nominee.
Turner lost his right hand in a work-related accident 40 years ago before joining government service. He began his civil service career in 1983 at Fort Bragg’s main commissary. Between 1986 and 1989, Turner worked at the Army’s Troop Support Agency European Commissary Regions at Bremerhaven, Garlstedt and Bamberg in Germany, before returning to Fort Bragg for good in 1989.
“I have worked for the agency for 38 years and nine months and have spent 35 years of that career at the Braggs,” said Turner referring to his time at Fort Bragg’s North and South commissaries. “Throughout my career, DeCA has provided a good life for my family. I raised three children, and I have been afforded the opportunity to both work and live in another country.”
“I’ve worked with John at both Bragg stores,” said Maureen McCarthy, store director at Fort Bragg North. “We shared an office here when he was the perishable store manager, and I was the semi perishable store manager. You really get to know a person under those close conditions, and I found John to be deeply committed to his family and his profession.
“I think he is a good choice for the recognition because he has chosen to use the past 40 years since his accident not dwelling on what he had lost but looking to the future to teach, inspire and motivate others through his own personal experiences,” she added.
Turner enjoys playing golf, pier fishing, traveling and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
According to Kevin Hennelly, DeCA’s director of equal employment opportunity, Turner is among good company as this year’s DeCA nominee for the honor.
“I have attended the award ceremony at the Pentagon on several occasions,” Hennelly said. “I’m always impressed by the people, like John Turner and the other nominees, who overcame their disabilities and make important contributions to the accomplishment of the mission of the Department.
“When we focus on what these teammates can do for DeCA both they and the agency benefit by putting their talent to work,” he added.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.