Two Honored for Spirit, Professionalism in Service
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, TXSG
AUSTIN - Going above and beyond what is expected of a Texan has long been the Hallmark of the men and women serving in the Texas State Guard. But this year’s junior enlisted member and non-commissioned officer of the year exceed the state guard’s high standard for exceptional service.
Corporal James Smith of Arlington said he was just looking for a way to “give something back to my adopted state” when he joined the Texas State Guard in 2009. He said he was motivated to “do something to feel like I have earned the right to call myself a Texan.”
As the Junior Enlisted Service Member of 2010, CPL Smith says he believes the award reflects on the collaborative work of his fellow enlisted men and officers in the 4th Regiment.
Since joining the TXSG, CPL Smith has served in the 4th Regiment’s 2nd Battalion as a squad leader, developing materials to aid in the training of non prior-service guardsmen. He serves as his unit’s personnel NCO and public affairs officer.
During Hurricane Alex, CPL Smith deployed to south Texas where he oversaw the first operational utilization of the battalion’s Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System (SNETS). Outside the Texas Guard, CPL Smith is a professional engineer with degrees from Oklahoma State University and Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Major Wendell Sadler, CPL Smith’s commanding officer said “CPL Smith has proven to be an apt leader within the unit and has expanded his role into the areas of personnel and public affairs. His attitude and initiative exemplifies the values of the TXSG.”
The NCO of the year is similarly motivating.
The Texas Maritime Regiment’s 1st Battalion has been served ably by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Lofy of Katy.
Drawing from his prior service in the United States Navy and civilian work in emergency management, PO2 Lofy serves in the dual role of communications and intelligence NCO. He has pursued qualifications on the IC4U, ISIS and TICP communications systems, while also receiving his general HAM operating license.
“I joined the TXSG because I did not feel like I was finished serving my country and state," said PO2 Lofy. "The state guard was the outlet I felt I needed to explore, as it was a marriage of the two pastimes I enjoy: the military and emergency management."
His enjoyment is evident in by the degree to which he involves himself in his duties and responsibilities. In July, he received the Commanding General’s Individual Award for his support of the joint TMAR / Texas Parks and Wildlife training exercise. Commander Wayne Hogard of the Maritime Regiment says PO2 Lofy is a model guardsman.
“PO2 Lofy’s professionalism and volunteering sprit, along with his ’can-do’ attitude, exemplifies the embodiment of the TXSG soldier.”
That spirit was evident in 2010. While returning home from TXSG annual training, PO2 Lofy witnessed a motorcycle accident. He stopped and rendered lifesaving aid – an action for which commendation is pending.
The graduate of Fort Hayes State University is currently enrolled in a master’s degree program in emergency and disaster management. PO2 Lofy said he is excited about the opportunities presented in the TXSG to "continue to volunteer and learn all I can."
PO2 Lofy said that from the recognition he feels an even deeper obligation to "model for our junior personnel" the qualities to be a senior NCO.
When asked why he felt the compelled to be in the TXSG, Junior Enlisted Member of the Year CPL Smith spoke for many native born sons of the Lone Star State.
“There is something special about Texas,” he said. “I don’t care where you go in the world, when you tell people that you are from Texas there is a certain recognition that you are from someplace special.”
It’s the dedicated service of PO2 Lofy, CPL Smith and the more than 2,000 men and women of the State Guard, who make the Lone Star State special.