Since 1988, 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 2017 GEICO Military Service Award Winners
United States Army – Kody L. Kill
Specialist Kody L. Kill is the Army recipient of GEICO’s 2017 Military Service Award for his work in Fire Safety and Fire Prevention. He is currently assigned as an Intelligence Analyst, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Force Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
SPC Kill exemplifies the best qualities of the professional NCO corps. He served as a volunteer firefighter, whose innovative approach to training soldiers on all aspects of fire safety, allowed his unit the flexibility to send soldiers to valuable local training, which increased fire safety awareness and reduced risk without negative impacts on unit readiness. As a volunteer firefighter for the North Okaloosa County Fire Department for over 2 years, SPC Kill has logged over 5K hours assisting local full-time firefighters in maintaining equipment and responding to calls around the clock. SPC Kill also uses his expertise to assist, organize, and conduct training for new firefighter recruits on equipment orientation, usage, as well as CPR training.
SPC Kill has responded to numerous structural and wild fires in Okaloosa County. He is often the first responder on the scene and provides lifesaving treatment prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Additionally, SPC has also assisted with the delivery of two newborns, in the performance of his duties.
SPC Kill’s dedication and safety awareness has had an immeasurable effect on safety awareness, risk mitigation, morale and mission success.
United States Air Force – Edward J. Mauss
Technical Sergeant Edward J. Mauss is the Air Force recipient of GEICO’s 2017 Military Service Award for his work in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention. He is currently assigned as a Criminal Investigator at the 96th Security Forces Squadron, 96th Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
In this capacity, TSgt Mauss serves as the unit’s representative to Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 104’s Joint Drug Enforcement Team. TSgt Mauss investigates narcotics dealers and users impacting DoD’s largest installation. He initiated and solved 20 major cases, completed 41 crime lab submissions with a 100% on-time rate and the evidence analysis was vital for prosecutions and convictions. TSgt Mauss also served as the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI) representative for the local county drug task force, and led the task force on base affiliated drug operations which resulted in civilian drug dealers being arrested and removed for the military installation. TSgt Mauss conducted 25 base drug awareness briefs for over 1000 base personnel covering 13 tenet units, and significantly enhanced the base drug abuse prevention program.
In his off-duty time, TSgt Mauss serves as a key member of the local police “Special Weapons and Tactics” (SWAT) team. He logged over 100 hours of training for hostile drug events. He also assisted in two National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events and as a result, 222 lbs of prescription drugs were secured and removed from the local community.
United States Navy – Renemar D. Astorga
Petty Officer First Class Renemar D. Astorga is the Navy recipient of the 2017 GEICO Military Service Award for his outstanding work in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention. PO1 Astorga is currently assigned as the Leading Petty Officer (LPO), of the Surgical Services Directorate at US Naval Hospital Guam.
As the leading Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) counselor on the island of Guam, he coordinates all assessments and treatment plans for service members with substance misuse at the outpatient and intensive outpatient levels. PO1 Astorga’s extraordinary efforts support 52 tenant commands throughout Joint Region Marianas, ensuring the unit’s maintain mission readiness which saves the unit’s operational costs by not having to fly service members off-island for assessments. During his tour, PO1 Astorga’s administration of Level One and Level Two in-house treatment programs provided care for 25,000 beneficiaries and saved the Navy over $385,000.00 annually. Additionally, he has earned 53 continuing education credits in Instructor Training supporting Occupational Stress Control and Psychological First Aid, was nominated for the Nationally acclaimed Peabody Caregiver Award, and selected as the Command Senior Sailor of the Quarter (3Q17). An aircraft mechanic by job designation, he has fully committed himself to utilize his calm cool demeanor to make a difference saving lives.
United States Coast Guard – Steven L. Mensen
Petty Officer First Class Steven L. Mensen is the Coast Guard recipient of the 2017 GEICO Military Service Award for his work in Fire Safety and Fire Prevention. He is assigned to Coast Guard Base New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana.
As Fire Marshal and Fire & Safety Division Manager, PO1 Mensen preforms National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) life safety inspections for Base NOLA & multiple sub-units spanning the Gulf Coast and the Midwestern states, covering over 200,000 square feet of facilities.
PO1 Mensen went above and beyond expectations of his paygrade writing and establishing emergency action plans and Memorandums of Agreement with local fire departments to ensure respective units were properly equipped and trained to respond to various emergencies. PO1 Mensen personally visits units to ensure their plans are thoroughly vetted, scheduled NFPA fire inspections are conducted, and all fire and safety concerns are addressed which has resulted in him achieving his personal goal of zero preventable mishaps. Not surprisingly, PO1 Mensen just as easily could have been nominated for the Traffic Safety and Accident Prevention or the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention categories as well, based on his nomination package write up.
United States Air Force Reserve – Lori L. Darling
Technical Sergeant Lori L. Darling is the National Guard and Reserve recipient of the 2017 GEICO Military Service Award for her work in Traffic Safety and Accident Prevention. As a Reservist, she is assigned to the 433 Security Forces Squadron, Lackland AFB, Texas.
TSgt Darling prepared Airmen/Equipment for Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom ensuring 37 qualified Airmen were prepared on time. She spearheaded the mass reissue of 4,000 restricted area badges and was also responsible for the accountability of $550K in Security Mobility and Combat Arms equipment.
TSgt Darling developed and maintained the Security Forces Motorcycle ORM program and oversaw more than 200 class and live training hours where she was recognized by the 502 ABW Safety Office and served as the unit ground/explosive safety programs manager. In addition, she recognized increased traffic risk during peak hours and implemented traffic direction operations.
TSgt Darling completed the US Army Institute for Professional Development Combat Lifesaver Course, USAF NCO Academy, USAF Special Operations School Dynamics of International Terrorism/Asian Pacific Orientation Course and the USAF Reserve Corps Anti-Terrorism Officer Level II courses.
* Selection of National Guard and Reserve Forces began in 1995.
Video courtesy CNN Heroes, 2015.