Thank you Veterans!
Like so many of their predecessors, today’s veterans come home looking to continue serving America however they can. We here at GSA are fortunate to have a great number of veterans, about 70 just here in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Veteran work is extraordinary and they represent an important resource for public service. Here is a look at just a handful of the veterans we have amongst our ranks at GSA.
Motto: “Do the best. Be the best. Being second is not motivating.”
Service: Army, 1973-1977, Ballistic Meteorological Crewman (weather observer)
Doran Keller is the Colorado Fleet Manager. Recently, he was heavily involved with Federal Emergency Management Agency and reconstitution efforts in the aftermath of the Colorado Floods this summer where he used skills he gained in the Army. Together with Dan Hackley, he was able to get 50 government vehicles to the FEMA personnel that needed them. “The Army taught me that there are not always times that you work 9-5,” he said. “You must look at the scope of the mission and put others before yourself in times of need.”
In addition to putting others first, Keller references how the Army provided him a structure and sense of belonging that helps him employ teamwork during his daily tasks at GSA. “I try to do my best in any task I take on, knowing that others depend on me,” Keller explained.
Keller is proud to be part of this selective group (Veterans) that served their country and continue to serve community through public service.
Motto: “Always try to do the right thing.”
Service: U.S. Coast Guard, 1988-2008, Marine Safety Officer (oil spill/hazard material response)
GSA Regional Emergency Coordinator Vickie Deal served as the ESF-7 Coordinator for logistics support to Federal Emergency Management Agency after flooding impacted 18 Colorado counties. A retired Coast Guard Marine Safety Officer, Deal’s military experience gives her an edge in working under these types of situations. “We [Military and GSA] thrive in the rapid response environment; doing the right thing and doing it quickly," she said. "Military and GSA both have a service culture, focused on helping others."
Working with the real estate team in PBS, the Fleet Team in FAS, and alongside her Deputy, Donna Vallejos, Deal helped to coordinate GSA support efforts, resulting in helping FEMA secure nine leases to set up space for a joint field office, branch operations, and disaster recovery centers to help with the recovery efforts still going on today in the 18 impacted Colorado counties.
GSA Fleet also provided 50 government vehicles to FEMA. “The true heroes really are the real estate specialists,” said Deal. “They’re going into hard-hit areas where there’s nothing left and trying to find some place to set up disaster recovery efforts.” The Fleet Team also went above and beyond in meeting all of FEMA's requests with a remarkably quick turnaround.
About her fellow veterans she says, “We’re all from that same culture. Regardless of the branch we served in, we have similar training and background. We’re about helping out others and doing the right thing.”
Motto: “Enjoy what you do!”
Service: Air Force, 1968-1974, Administrative and Personnel Specialist
Serving as a Procurement Analyst for the Regional Acquisition Office, Jan Worthy is committed to high quality work—a trait she picked up from her experience in the Air Force. “We were always ready for inspections,” she said. “Everything had to be perfect; you couldn’t have any errors.” Those same dedicated work ethics for quality and perfection are what she brings to her job every day.
Worthy gives back to other veterans in her free time as well. Together with Darlene Gonzales, she supports a women’s veterans group that generally puts together a fair in the fall. “We have people there that can give information about VA benefits, unemployment resources, education opportunities, and support for those who are homeless,” said Worthy “There were probably more than 200 people there.”
At the event this September, Worthy helped direct participants where to go for the information which they were looking and directed them to training sessions provided by various groups. “Being part of the military, regardless what branch you served, you feel they are your family,” added Worthy.
Motto: “Do what you can.”
Service: Navy, Air Force, National Guard, 1995-present, Airman
Public Affairs Specialist Angela Brees served in the Navy for 6 years. Since then she’s continued supporting the military through Navy and Air Force reserves before joining the Air National Guard in 2009. She is one of the 75 guards helping Colorado recover from this disaster. Their work includes building road, removing debris, which includes cars, trees and massive boulders, removing asphalt, filling land areas washed away by the water, and installing culverts.
“GSA has been incredibly supportive of my Guard career,” said Brees. “Having been in the military for 18 years, it is an important part of who I am, so I am grateful to GSA for its support.”
Read more about the Angela and see the work her team has done to help Colorado, Click to read more
Most people are aware of the catastrophic flooding that took place during the second week of September along Colorado's Front Range. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates that flood-damaged state roads will require about $450 million in repairs. With a race against winter, Colorado is feverishly working to repair its roads. So how can a state like Colorado tackle such a big undertaking?
One of the ways is with the help of the Army and Air National Guard and GSA employee and soldier, Angela Brees, was part of this group. More than 75 Kansas soldiers and airmen began work in October repairing Colorado roads washed away during a flash flood September 12. U.S. Highway 36, between Lyons and Estes Park, became inaccessible after the flood, cutting off residents in the smaller, rural communities who live along the 25-mile stretch of highway.
Their work includes building road, removing debris, which includes cars, trees and massive boulders, removing asphalt, filling land areas washed away by the water, and installing culverts. Since operations started in September, the multi-state, joint force National Guard team worked 20,414 man hours, placed 320 feet of culvert, and hauled 34,200 cubic yards of fill material - that's enough dirt to fill more than 250,000 standard bath tubs.
Veteran work is extraordinary and they play an important part at GSA. Angela’s leadership in and out of uniform embodies the patriotism and sense of duty that provide many of us the strength necessary to get the job done.
Motto: "Try to make a positive difference no matter how small.”
Service: Navy, 1975-79 and 1991-2009, Senior Chief Petty Officer (supply/logistics)
Contract Specialist Darlene Gonzales is a retired Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer who worked for B3 Solutions. In 2012 she retired from GSA. "I think the most important point I learned in the Navy is that you have to work as a team and not be afraid to take the lead to get the job done, whether you want to or not,” said Gonzales.
With 21 years of military service, she is still actively involved in giving back to the veteran community. She is on the Board of Directors for two non-profit organizations--the Veterans First Ltd (VFL) and the Women Veterans of Colorado (WVOC). She supports VFL’s facility in Phoenix, which provides housing for homeless women veterans who are looking to better their lives. Additionally she is helping WVOC with strategic planning and supports the organization’s joint annual Women Veterans conference with the VA and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1, which offers many classes and allows participants to engage with veteran organizations.
“I like helping people who care about improving themselves,” said Gonzales. “I want to give back and try to make a difference, and this way I can. It is a good feeling when you see a homeless or an at-risk of becoming homeless woman veteran pick up her life.”