Brunswick Student Earns Joshua Chamberlain Award

SNHU Communications Office

Honorees put service above self

From the Brunswick Times-Record      

BRUNSWICK — The annual Joshua Chamberlain Award was presented to two recipients this year, one civilian and one military.

The awards, given by the Military-Community Council at Saturday's Navy Ball, went to Rick Tetrev of Woolwich and Petty Officer First Class Sergio Wooden.

The award, named after the famous Civil War general who also was a Bowdoin College president, is in recognition "of outstanding contributions toward the development and maintenance of the best possible relationship between the local military and civilian communities."

Tetrev, a former executive officer at Brunswick Naval Air Station, spearheaded efforts to save BNAS from closure by the Base Realignment and Closure commission by leading a task force of local officials and retired military leaders. The task force spent hundreds of hours compiling data to demonstrate the strategic value of BNAS, both in terms of national defense and the local economy.

While acknowledging that the task force offered compelling arguments on behalf of the base, the federal commission voted in August to recommend closure of BNAS. Unless Congress intervenes, that recommendation will become official on Nov. 9.

Al Austin, who presented the award to Tetrev, said in his comments that Tetrev "demonstrated integrity, leadership, patience, perseverance and a sense of unusual sensitivity to the input of a very diverse team of BRAC volunteers."

"He kept us on message like a laser," Austin said.

Reached this morning, Tetrev said he was "honored and humbled" by the award.

"It's a great honor, knowing what the award stands for," he said. "But it is bittersweet for me; having spent all that time and energy trying to keep the base open, it was disappointing to see us lose out. Ironically, once the base closes there won't be this award anymore. It's a big loss to the community, these wonderful people who contribute to our towns."

Retired Rear Adm. Harry Rich, a member of the BRAC task force, said this morning that Tetrev was "an outstanding choice" for the Chamberlain Award.

"He had to stop his regular job to head the BRAC task force," Rich said.

During his tenure as an officer at BNAS, Tetrev worked tirelessly to improve relations between the military and civilian communities. He served on the boards of Flying Changes Center for Therapeutic Riding, Shoreline Mental Health Agency and the Mid-coast Council for Business Development.

Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Petty Officer Sergio Wooden is volunteer coordinator for Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Five and the five squadrons at BNAS. He helped coordinate volunteers to build four homes for Habitat for Humanity and helped a major annual "Bowling for Kids' Sake" fund-raising effort for the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters affiliate.

During his tour at BNAS, Wooden received a Volunteer Service Medal for his creation of a pilot project for hunger prevention that raised funds for the Mid-coast region's food banks.

"He's quite a guy," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Bridgette Ortiz, Wooden's direct supervisor at BNAS. "He helps out in so many ways."

Capt. Michael Hewitt, commander of Wing Five, said he was ecstatic about the choice of Wooden.

"He is truly a tremendous choice," Hewitt said. "In addition to what he's done outside the command, he's done so many extra things for the base. He runs all our volunteer programs and I get a letter about once every couple of months commenting on Wooden's efforts in the community."

Wooden has volunteered as a Brunswick High School football coach since 2002, contributing more than 1,000 hours of service and mentoring 350 students. He is also a member of the Topsham Public Library's outreach program.

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