2019 Service Award Recipients
Since 1988, GEICO has conducted the GEICO Military Service Award Program, recognizing and thanking one enlisted member from each Service and one enlisted member from the National Guard. Each is selected for their work in one of these areas of endeavor:
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention
- Fire Safety and Fire Prevention
- Traffic Safety and Accident Prevention
These exceptional enlisted men and women are recognized for their dedication and commitment to volunteer service in both their Military and civilian communities.
United States Army Venessa Hernandez
Staff Sergeant Vanessa Hernandez is the Army recipient of the 2019 GEICO Military Service Award for her work in Fire Safety and Fire Prevention. She is assigned as the Air Program Manager, Headquarters Support Company, 3rd Psychological Operations Company (Airborne)(Dissemination), 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.
In addition to her duties as the Air Program Manager, SSG Hernandez has volunteered more than 900 hours of her personal time as a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for the Stoney Point Fire Department, serving Cumberland County, including Fayetteville, N.C. SSG Hernandez successfully completed the department's grueling training program at the top of her class and is certified by the National Fire Protection Association 1001 and 1403. She also holds a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician certification.
During an emergency medical situation, SSG Hernandez recognized that the victim was having agonal breathing problems and immediately administered the lifesaving drug Naloxone, which stabilized the victim's breathing and prevented a possible casualty.
United States Marine Corps Justin Hartley
Staff Sergeant Justin Hartley is the Marine Corp recipient of the 2019 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in Traffic Safety and Accident Prevention. He is currently assigned as the Command's Safety Staff Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge (SNCOIC) at the Headquarters for United States Marine Corp Reserve Forces in New Orleans, La.
During a recent Integrated Training Exercise 4-19, he was quickly able to identify the direct and root cause of the HMMWV fire that led to the complete loss of a vehicle. This was the second such HMMWV fire that occurred within the Force in two months. His identification of the direct cause led to the development of the necessary corrective actions to mitigate the hazard. It is impossible to state how many HMMWV's would have caught fire if his corrective actions would not have been applied.
SSg Hartley was a primary instructor for seven iterations of the Marine Force Reserve Ground Safety for Marines Course conducted in New Orleans. He was instrumental in the planning, coordination, and execution of each course iteration, which consisted of approximately 40 students from across Marine Reserve Forces and multiple Active Component units.
United States Navy Joshua Niswonger
Petty Officer First Class Joshua Niswonger is the Navy recipient of the 2019 GEICO Military Service Award for his outstanding work in Traffic Safety and Accident Prevention. PO1 Niswonger is currently assigned as the Operations Electronic Leading Petty Officer onboard the USS SENTRY (MCM 3), which is homeported in Manama, Bahrain.
PO1 Niswonger serves as USS SENTRY's Motorcycle Safety Coordinator. He provided motorcycle safety training to a crew of 100 and 47 riders from nearby Naval Station Bahrain. This provided them with the information and training required for novice and skilled motorcycle riders. As one of the only Motorcycle Safety trained coordinators in the FIFTH FLEET, his hard work helped educated motorcycle riders on how to be safe riders in order to minimize traffic violations and reduce traffic accidents.
He is responsible for the Traffic Safety Program onboard USS SENTRY. He conducted the required annual training for 100 Sailors and maintained all required training certifications for the command.
United States Air Force Sabrina Bailey
Staff Sergeant Sabrina K. Bailey is the Air Force recipient of the 2019 GEICO Military Service Award for her work in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention. SSgt Bailey is currently assigned to Buckley Air Force Base, 460th Medical Operations Squadron, Aurora, CO, as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program.
SSgt Bailey serves as the lead enlisted drug and alcohol counselor for the 460th Space Wing and its 28 tenant units. She drove joint force drug and alcohol prevention efforts by briefing nearly 400 joint members on effective stress management tools that decrease the reliance on drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms and achieved an 11% reduction in substance abuse referrals. SSgt Bailey also revamped the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Clinic. She identified deficiencies, developed effective tracking systems and cleared a five-month case backlog to put the program back on track. Her work was recognized by the Inspector General for Air Force Space Command as a command best practice.
United States Coast Guard Colin Four
Petty Officer First Class Colin C. Four is the Coast Guard recipient of the 2019 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in Fire Safety and Fire Prevention. He is assigned to U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, Cape May, N.J.
As the leading petty officer for the Damage Control & Repair Division, PO1 Four is responsible for providing basic fire chemistry, prevention, detection, suppression and firefighting training annually to more than 3,500 Coast Guard members. Additionally, he liaises between the TRACEN Fire Department and outlying units, providing skill enhancement clinics to members utilizing state of the art, interactive fire suppression training screens.
In his off time, PO1 Four went above and beyond expectations, devoting more than 500 hours to the Erma Volunteer Fire Company by responding to more than 120 callouts and training and serving as a Rapid Intervention Team Member, Emergency Vehicle Operator and Land-Based Fire Instructor. Most recently, PO1 Four spent three days educating over 600 New Jersey citizens on fire safety fundamentals such as 'Stop, Drop and Roll,' efficient egress techniques and instructing parents/guardians how to plan/implement Escape Drills in the Home (EDITH). In addition, PO1 Four has continuously volunteered as a local Fire Fighter at his previous three duty stations.
National Guard Jamal Lee
Sergeant Jamal E. Lee is the National Guard recipient of the 2019 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in Fire Safety and Fire Prevention. He is assigned as a Team Leader to the 276th Military Police Company, D.C. Army National Guard, Washington, D.C.
As a "Citizen Soldier," he also serves as a Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) assigned to the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Service's Department, Washington, DC. SGT Lee is on the frontlines in a rapid paced, high volume call jurisdiction. His responsibilities reach beyond fire suppression to include fire prevention and education outreach within the community as well.
SGT Lee performed his cross-duties as an EMT admirably during the transport of an adult patient who was 39 weeks pregnant. While in route to the hospital, the patient began to go into labor in the back of the ambulance. SGT Lee took the lead in assisting the mother with delivering the child after stopping the ambulance and ensuring communications with the hospital were made. SGT Lee's quick actions and use of his advanced training resulted in a safe delivery for both mother and child.