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.

GEICO Military Service Award Winners

Seated (l to r): SFC Julio M. Mella, US Army; Lance Corporal Lawrence D. Lucy, USMC; DCC Cyprus V. Abundo, US Navy; Technical Sergeant Lee M. Elam, US Air Force; Petty Officer Sean C. Farrar, US Coast Guard; Gunnery Sergeant Jose T. Montoya, Marine Forces Reserve.
Standing (l to r): CSM John W. Troxell, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; GEICO Chairman Tony Nicely; Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey; Sergeant Major James T. Adams, Marine Forces Reserve; Force Master Chief C.J. Mitchell, US Navy Reserve; Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright; Deputy master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Leilani Cale-Jones; Sergeant Major Luther Thomas, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

 

2016 GEICO Military Service Award Winners Tour the National Mall

2016 GEICO Military Service Award Winners Tour the National Mall

 

GEICO Military Service Award Winners

2016 GEICO Military Service Award Winners Tour Arlington National Cemetery

 

The 2016 GEICO Military Service Award Winners


Army – Sergeant First Class Julio M. Mella

Sergeant First Class Mella is assigned to the US Army Garrison at Fort Campbell, KY, as the Senior Administrative Noncommissioned Officer.

SFC Mella has been a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for Oak Grove, KY, since 2008 where he has responded to more than 500 emergencies in the last two years.  Additionally, he volunteers as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for Montgomery County, TN.  In 2011 he was awarded the Community Service Ribbon for his service to the Oak Grove, KY, Community and in 2012 he was awarded the Upstanding Volunteer Service Medal for volunteering more than 4,000 hours as a volunteer fire fighter and EMT.  In addition he also volunteers as a mentor for high school students with the tnAchieves organization.


Marine Corps – Lance Corporal Lawrence D. Lucy

When nominated, Lance Corporal Lucy was the supply clerk for Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Quantico, Va.

Lance Corporal Lucy has given his free time to ensure the safety and well-being of the Military and Civilian communities aboard and near Marine Corps Base Quantico.  His volunteer work with the Dumfries-Triangle Volunteer Fire Department has exceeded more than 400 hours in the past year.  During those volunteer hours he has provided timely, effective, and professional services at the scenes of 14 vehicle accidents, 27 injury or sickness calls, 6 reported gas leaks, and 3 fires.  He is certified in infectious disease control, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, First Aid, use of the Automated External Defibrillator, and in Federal Emergency Management Agency Training.


Navy – Chief Petty Officer Cyprus V. Abundo

Chief Petty Officer Abundo is the Safety Department Leading Chief Petty Officer on the USS Frank Cable, Agana, Guam.

As Damage Control Coordinator, he exceeded all areas of fire safety and fire prevention requirements, including an unprecedented 2,965 in-theater repairs to forward-deployed submarines. He also executed over 60 integrated ship-wide casualty drills—resulting in an outstanding grade from MSC Afloat Training Team Inspectors—and aggressively managed 20 command safety programs, reducing safety discrepancies by 85% onboard.  He led ship-wide safety inspections that were praised by Naval Safety Center for creating the “best Safety Department they have ever inspected.” His efforts have reduced fire hazard, material loss and material damage by 82%, and led to USS Frank Cable earning FY 15 Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety Award and FY15 Secretary of the Navy Afloat Safety Award.


Air Force – Technical Sergeant Lee M. Elam

Lee M. Elam is the Air Force recipient of the 2016 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in traffic safety and accident prevention.

When nominated, TSgt Elam was assigned as the Occupational Safety Technician at the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, FL.

Technical Sergeant Elam oversees the base occupational safety program ensuring safety for 10,000 personnel and $2.8 billion in facilities. Additionally he provides commanders’ safety consultations supporting the Air Force’s largest F-22 wing with 55 aircraft valued at $10.45 billion.  His efforts contributed significantly to the 325th Fighter Wing’s outstanding record of zero class A or B mishaps in the last 4 years. TSgt Elam is directly responsible for the base Motorcycle Safety and Mishap Investigation programs; providing motorcycle safety for more than 400 riders and investigating, identifying, and correcting mishap root causes.  TSgt Elam’s work and leadership in motorcycle safety led to his program being recognized as the best program in Air Combat Command.


Coast Guard – Petty Officer Sean C. Farrar

Petty Officer Farrar is assigned to Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, Port Angeles, Wash.

Petty Officer Farrar identified critical gaps in the local Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) program, including deficiencies in the number of rescue personnel, the need for annual live-fire and monthly drills, poorly maintained exposure suits and Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses, and that the fire safety response vehicle was beyond its service life. In collaboration with the unit Safety Department, he rewrote Air Station policy, implemented a comprehensive overhaul to the training program, and ultimately achieved compliance with Coast Guard policy. Petty Officer Farrar’s actions lead to 840 hours of certified firefighter training for local personnel and reduced the unit’s ARFF response time to less than three minutes on-scene time.


National Guard/Reserve – Gunnery Sergeant Jose T. Montoya (Marine Forces Reserve)

Petty Officer Farrar is assigned to Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, Port Angeles, Wash.

Petty Officer Farrar identified critical gaps in the local Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) program, including deficiencies in the number of rescue personnel, the need for annual live-fire and monthly drills, poorly maintained exposure suits and Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses, and that the fire safety response vehicle was beyond its service life. In collaboration with the unit Safety Department, he rewrote Air Station policy, implemented a comprehensive overhaul to the training program, and ultimately achieved compliance with Coast Guard policy. Petty Officer Farrar’s actions lead to 840 hours of certified firefighter training for local personnel and reduced the unit’s ARFF response time to less than three minutes on-scene time.


* 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