Thanking Our Heroes: The GEICO Military Service Awards

For more than 27 years, GEICO has conducted the GEICO Military Service Award Program, recognizing and thanking one Member from each service and one from the National Guard or Reserve Forces.* Each is selected for their work in uniform in one of these areas:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse prevention
  • Fire safety and fire prevention
  • Traffic safety and accident prevention

These exceptional enlisted men and women are rewarded for their dedication and commitment to volunteer service in both their Military and civilian communities. Winners and their significant others enjoy a weekend in the Nation’s Capital, being treated to exciting and memorable tours of the National Mall, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Archives, Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon.

The 2015 GEICO Military Service Award Winners

Army – Sergeant Ryan M. Beitler

Sergeant Ryan M. BeitlerRyan M. Beitler is the Army recipient of the 2015 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in traffic safety and accident prevention.

Sergeant Beitler works as a traffic accident investigator for the 42nd Military Police Detachment, 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne), 16th Military Police Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Sergeant Beitler has served the Fort Bragg Military and Civilian Community with distinction for more than two years.  He implemented creative and effective initiatives to protect children, deter traffic violations, prevent DUIs, and improve drivers’ safety.  Sgt. Beitler assisted in refining the Supplemental Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP).  This program provides a detailed analysis of the number of vehicles, time of day, day of the week, and type of vehicles traveling the Fort Bragg roadways.  He also utilized the STEP to help create the School Bus Safety Initiative, which utilizes cameras to record and document school bus stop arm violators.  This resulted in a 93% decrease in violations and enhanced the safety of school children.  Sgt. Beitler provided safety information and hands-on experience of the wisdom of wearing a seat belt through the use of the seat belt convincer to more than 1000 personnel.  His higher headquarters requested that he be an instructor for their Safety Stand Down Day, and he has provided many driving-while-intoxicated safety briefs for tenant units on Fort Bragg.

Marine Corps – Gunnery Sergeant Kwan S. Cochrane

Gunnery Sergeant Kwan S. CochraneKwan S. Cochrane is the Marine Corps recipient of the 2015 GEICO Military Service award for his work in traffic safety and accident prevention.

Gunnery Sergeant Cochrane is the Ground Safety manager for Marine Fighter Attack training Squadron 501 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.

Gunnery Sergeant Cochrane used noteworthy initiative and exceptional competence to revitalize Marine Aircraft Group 31’s ground safety program, with particular focus on fall prevention.  His implementation of an active fall protection program ensures safe operations throughout his command and reduces risk to aircraft during maintenance evolutions.  His efforts have measurably increased the effectiveness of aircraft maintenance at his command while simultaneously ensuring the safety of the Marine maintainers who routinely encounter extreme hazards in the course of F-35B maintenance.  His practical approach has been instrumental in positively impacting the cultural attitude regarding fall protection.  Gunnery Sergeant Cochrane’s program serves as a model for fall protection within the Marine Corps, and the Joint Strike Fighter Program.

Gunnery Sergeant Cochrane is married and he and his wife have three children.

Navy – Petty Officer Ian M. Graves

Petty Officer Ian M. GravesIan M. Graves is the Navy recipient of the 2015 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

Petty Officer Graves is assigned as a Navy Auxiliary Security Forces Leading Petty Officer, Strategic Communications Wing One, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

Petty Officer Graves is the Operations Director, Camp Director, and Mentor for the Drug Education for Youth Program (DEFY) hosted by his command, a position he has held since 2013.  He coordinated, planned, and oversaw all activities within the DEFY Program.  In addition, he led 33 training evolutions where he devoted more than 479 hours of his off-duty time educating over 80 Military dependent youths in the areas of drug and alcohol awareness and prevention, goal setting, relationships, conflict resolution, substance abuse prevention, leadership, teamwork skills, self-esteem, gang resistance, and cyber awareness.  Petty Officer Graves ensured a smoothly ran DEFY Phase One Camp, built a positive rapport between the camp staff and parents, and made a significant positive investment in the future of the graduates.

Petty Officer Graves never hesitates to volunteer his time and efforts.  While serving in Rota, Spain, he volunteered 172 hours at the local thrift shop.  In his current assignment he has helped the Oklahoma City Project Hugs Organization pack and ship over 2,000 care packages for service members around the world for every holiday season.

Petty Officer Graves is married and he and his wife, Patricia, have a four-year-old daughter.

Air Force – Master Sergeant Michael D. Champion

Master Sergeant Michael D. ChampionMichael D. Champion is the Air Force recipient of GEICO’s 2015 Military Service Award for his work in Fire Safety and Fire Prevention.  Master Sergeant Champion is currently assigned as a Technical Training Instructor at the 312th Training Squadron, Goodfellow  Air Force Base, Texas.

Master Sergeant Champion deployed to the Middle East, led 421 inspections, fixed 875 fire hazards, and reduced fires by 92%.  He also created 10 “Train the Trainer” Fire Warden Programs at forward operation bases, ensuring the safety of 600 frontline warfighters, keeping them focused and engaged in the fight.  MSgt. Champion led in the development of cutting edge health and safety initiatives that played a key role in the selection of Goodfellow Air Force Base as the Department of Defense’s (DOD) “Best Small Fire Department of the Year.”

Master Sergeant Champion is also a volunteer firefighter in his local community.  He responded to a roll-over car accident and immediately took control and expedited air and ground transports and saved five lives.  In another very serious incident, he utilized the “Jaws of Life” to free victims trapped in an icy 26-car pile-up on a key interstate highway, and his efforts resulted in zero loss of life.

Master Sergeant Champion is married and he and his wife, Andrea, have three children.

Coast Guard – Petty Officer Trent J. Lamun

Petty Officer Trent J. LamunTrent J. Lamun is the Coast Guard recipient of the 2015 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in fire safety and fire prevention.

Petty Officer Lamun is assigned to the Health, Safety, and Work-Life Service Center, Norfolk, Virginia.

Petty Officer Lamun developed a Confined Space Entry and Rescue Drill which was approved by the Office of Cutter Forces.  Working with Surface Force Logistics Center, he discovered a flaw in the water mist fire-fighting systems of USCG Cutters that placed Coast Guardsmen at risk of death or personal injury.  In addition to this safety challenge, he was also a principal member of another Cutter specific Main Space Fire Doctrine Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures involving the safety of damage control parties and Cutter overhaul crews concerning the awareness of the lead and asbestos hazards.  In addition to the life-saving changes PO Lamun has instituted, his knowledge was extremely important in the development of the Shipboard Fire Prevention and Fire Marshall Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.

Petty Officer Lamun and his wife, Tabatha, have one daughter.

National Guard/Reserve – Master Sergeant Joi A. Pearson (U.S. Air Force Reserve)

Master Sergeant Joi A. PearsonJoi A. Pearson is the Reserve/National Guard recipient of the 2015 GEICO Military Service Award for her work in drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

Master Sergeant Pearson is assigned as the Superintendent of Officer Promotion Board Eligibility, Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado.

Master Sergeant Pearson is a certified Victim Advocate and has responded to many victim calls, handling all in a manner that ensured the support, safety, and security of the victims.  Among many other outstanding on-duty accomplishments, she conducted multiple Sexual Assault Prevention and Response briefings; planned, organized, and led a unit Wingman Day event; lead 108 DWI, Relapse Prevention and Anger Management classes; and facilitated two enlisted force structure forums with 135 Airmen multiplying member awareness with a 97% survey rating.  She is a skilled noncommissioned officer leader overseeing more than 8,000 human resource actions, supervised a five-person team, and led the team to a nomination for a quarterly award.  She is a consummate volunteer assisting her unit Honor Guard, the unit Top 3 Club, Spread the Word Committee, and Blacks in Government.  She also devoted eight hours to the local homeless, volunteered as a Colorado Youth Mentor empowering 12 at-risk families at three high schools, and gave 30-plus hours to Team Buckley Airmen Against Drunk Driving.

 

2015 Finalists

Army

Sergeant Sakena C. Miller, US Army Public Health Command District Japan, Camp Zama, Japan, in drug and alcohol abuse prevention

Sergeant Ivelisse A. Maddalena, 20th CBRNE Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in fire safety and fire prevention

Marine Corps

Staff Sergeant Renard K. Dominique, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in drug and alcohol abuse prevention

Navy

Petty Officer Stephen C. Young, SFS 97, Lemoore, CA, in fire safety and fire prevention

Petty Officer Nicole M. Probert, HSCS 23, NAS North Island, San Diego, CA, in traffic safety and accident prevention

Air Force

Master Sergeant Charleen J. Jones, AETC, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, TX, in drug and alcohol abuse prevention

Master Sergeant Benjamin L. Ackerman, AETC, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, TX, in traffic safety and accident prevention

Coast Guard

Petty Officer Christopher Parrinello, Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, CA, in traffic safety and accident prevention

National Guard/Reserve

US Coast Guard Reserve – Petty Officer Zachary P. Dominguez, Port Security Unit 311, San Pedro, CA, in fire safety and fire prevention

US Coast Guard Reserve – Petty Officer James Dickerson, USCG Sector Columbia River, Warrenton, OR, in fire safety and fire prevention

 

* Selection of National Guard and Reserve Forces began in 1995.

Video courtesy CNN Heroes, 2015.

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  1. Tomas almonte says

    I would like to thank all our branches of the service for all they do to keep us safe I am very grateful and proud of all our men & women in uniform God Bless America!!

  2. Suzanne Smith Manconi says

    I would like to thank all our branches of the service for all they do to keep us safe I am very grateful and proud of all our men & women in uniform I am a widow of a retired Navy Man
    from WW11 and understand the they give up for their county You also should mention the wonderful job the Marine’s do at this time of year for the Toys for Tots program my husband gave every year & now that he has gone on his journey I will carry on the tradition God Bless all our Men & Women who wear the uniform Merry Christmas to all of them