Civilian employee of the year awards ceremony conducted at Camp Humphreys

Photo By Ensign Blagoj Petkovski | USFK Civilian Employee of the Year awardees assigned to Navy Region Korea, Fleet Activities Chinhae and Naval Facilities Far East display their awards with Rear Adm. Mark Schafer, commander, Naval Forces Korea and Navy Region Korea, left, and Command Master Chief Darrell Timpa, senior enlisted advisor, Naval Forces Korea and Navy Region Korea.
Photo By Ensign Blagoj Petkovski | USFK Civilian Employee of the Year awardees assigned to Navy Region Korea, Fleet Activities Chinhae and Naval Facilities Far East display their awards with Rear Adm. Mark Schafer, commander, Naval Forces Korea and Navy Region Korea, left, and Command Master Chief Darrell Timpa, senior enlisted advisor, Naval Forces Korea and Navy Region Korea.

Civilian employee of the year awards ceremony conducted at Camp Humphreys

by Lt.j.g. Billy Petkovski
Commander, Naval Forces Korea

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Nov. 18, 2021) – Three American civilian employees and one Korean civilian employee assigned to Navy Region Korea (CNRK), Fleet Activities Chinhae (CFAC) and Naval Facilities Far East (NAVFAC-FE) were recognized as U.S. Forces Korea Civilian Employee of the Year awardees in their respective categories during a ceremony at Camp Humphreys, Republic of Korea, Nov. 17.

Mrs. Shanna Blocher, CNRK Physical Fitness Program Specialist (US Skilled Employee of the Year); Mr. Apollo Burgamy, CNRK Public Affairs Specialist (US Administrator of the Year); Ms. Sandra Neuman, CNRK Work and Family Life Specialist (US Professional of the Year); and Mr. Kim, Pom Sik, Naval Facilities-FE Chinhae Non-Tactical Vehicle and Equipment Operator (KN Individual with Disability of the Year) received awards.
"I am proud of our Navy civilian team members who were recognized as USFK Civilian Employee of the Year awardees for their hard work, dedication and professional expertise," said Rear Adm. Mark Schafer, commander, Naval Forces Korea and Navy Region Korea. "We are a stronger and more capable force because of the support we receive from both our DoN American civilians and Korean National civilian force. Teammates like Shanna, Apollo, Sandra and Pom are top performers and their choice to serve our mission is an example of how top talent can have an outsized impact on a strategic mission. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful country with such exceptional people, where we enjoy a strong relationship with our host nation and are a part of a fantastic team."

Blocher, a life-time fitness enthusiast, has worked with the CFAC Morale Welfare and Recreation team since 2017.

“Shanna’s sustained superior performance has been an invaluable asset to the MWR team here at CFAC and throughout the peninsula,” said Paul Kemmet, director, CNRK Fleet and Family Readiness. “Just this last year while we were performing upgrades to our gym facilities, she was able to innovate and create physical fitness areas is places I’d never thought of using. That sort of initiative is only one of the reasons why she earned her recognition.”

The 2021 USFK Civilian Employee of the Year award was Blocher’s second USFK Civilian Employee of the Year award since joining the team.

“It is an honor being recognized as a USFK Civilian Employee of the Year,” said Blocher. “This really is an award that represents the team of dedicated professionals who I have the privilege of working with every day. They motivate me and all of the people who are in our facilities every day striving towards their health and fitness goals.”

Burgamy serves as the sole public affairs specialist for Navy Region Korea where he acts as the liaison with host national military, political, civic and business leaders for CNRK and CFAC, while also providing public affairs support to Naval Forces Korea (CNFK).

“Apollo is a communication expert whose efforts ensured we were aligned and timely with delivering important information to the Navy Sailors and their families, civilians and our retirees in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic and leading up to the administration of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Greg Brown, executive director, Navy Region Korea. “He has been one of the driving forces behind CFAC’s and the Region’s positive relationship with our Korean community partners.”

Burgamy, who was a U.S. Navy active duty public affairs officer for nearly 10 years, served as the CNFK public affairs officer during his tenure as an active duty public affairs officer from 2010-2013, and returned for a second tour of duty as a civilian public affairs practitioner in 2020.

“I sincerely appreciate being recognized as a USFK Civilian Employee of the Year,” said Burgamy. “This is my second time working in Korea and I chose to return because of the genuine friendships and professional relationships I built during my first tour as an active duty public affairs officer. The leadership and team here has really made practicing public affairs a fulfilling and meaningful job because of the ability to contribute directly to our mission readiness and effectiveness especially during the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As a Work and Family Life Program Specialist, Neuman, who has worked for the U.S. Navy in Korea since 2019, administers the Command Financial Specialist Program. She was also a part of the committee that worked towards earning CFAC Fleet and Family Support Center its first ever certification in 2020.

“Sandra’s contributions to our Fleet and Family readiness programs were immediate and continue to be endless,” said Kemmet. “She has dedicated herself to the community’s success and wellness ensuring Sailors and their families have the resources necessary to thrive and excel in Korea, and she does everything with a kind word and smile on her face for everyone she meets.”

In addition to her official duties as a Work and Family Life Specialist Neuman teaches fitness classes as an accredited group exercise instructor, all while volunteering her time to Chinhae MWR and the community at least twice per week.

“I am really humbled by this recognition as a USFK Civilian Employee of the Year,” said Neuman. “I’ve enjoyed my time here in Korea because of the Sailors and families I get to interact with on a daily basis. This community is really like one big family, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing Sailors promote and their children grow up right before my eyes. Having those interactions coupled with this award really makes this something special.”

A member of the CFAC Public Works Department, Mr. Kim is relied upon to keep the installation’s fleet of vehicles accounted for and ready for use at a moment’s notice.

“Mr. Kim is our go-to for providing safe and reliable transportation for our distinguished visitors, local community as well as managing our fleet of vehicles,” said Kyle O’Kelly, deputy public works officer, Naval Facilities Chinhae. “Mr. Kim is an innovator and the backbone of our vehicle management team. He is as respected for his high level of customer service and kindness as he is for his professional capability and leadership, which says a lot about how well regarded he is by anyone who comes in to contact with him.”
In addition to his duties as the command’s administrator over its fleet of vehicles, he operates a shuttle twice a week to Camp Walker in Daegu – a more than two hour drive – to provide U.S. military residents and civilian employees in Chinhae, with base access, an opportunity to use facilities and services on the larger base.

“I am honored to be recognized as a USFK Civilian Employee of the Year,” said Kim. “In the years I have been working for the U.S. Navy in Korea I have always felt as if I were a part of a team with an important mission.”

Commander, Navy Region Korea provides shore installation management and support to Navy activities throughout the Republic of Korea. CNRK exercises military command over Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae, the only US Navy installation in Korea.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Region Korea, visit their website.

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