Corps Employees, Families Honored for Their Service in the Middle East

   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District will honor its Military and Civilian employees who have been or are deployed to the Middle East during a dinner and awards ceremony Sept. 29, 2009, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Cabell County Library on Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street in Huntington, W.Va.

   The Huntington Employee Assistance Resource Team (HEART) is sponsoring the event, which recognizes the personal sacrifices Soldiers and Civilians have made to support this important Corps mission, as well as the sacrifices made by their families. HEART serves as a support group to families of Huntington District Soldiers and Civilians deployed to the Iraq and Afghanistan, to provide outreach and information in order to lessen the burden during times of separation.

   Among the Corps employees who will talk about their experiences are husband and wife, Rick and Sharon Mers, who were deployed to Afghanistan for over a year. While this was Sharon’s first deployment, Rick has served three deployments in support of the Overseas Contingency Operation. In addition to the Mers, 10 other employees and their families will be honored. Honorees include John Atkins, Shantel Debortoli, Michael Fosson, Lora Greer, Todd Newman, Stephen Ofori, Brian Swope, Jeff Yost, Cindy Yost and Howard Wood.

   The Gulf Region Division (GRD) was activated in January 2004 and is headquartered in Baghdad. The GRD provides quality, responsive, full-spectrum engineering in Iraq in support of Military and Civil construction, and assists the government of Iraq to assume full responsibility for national reconstruction.

   The Afghanistan Engineer District (AED) employs more than 200 U.S. civilians and military personnel. AED performs a crucial role in securing a stable and secure environment in Afghanistan while promoting reconstruction and infrastructure development.

   For more information on the GRD and AED missions, please visit their websites at; and

   For more information on HEART, call the Huntington District Public Affairs office at 304-399-5353.

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