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USACE Vicksburg District celebrates history, inducts distinguished employees on Founders’ Day

Photo: District Commander Col. Christopher Klein cuts the celebratory cake with an Army saber with the most recent district employee, Tedris Smith (left), and most seasoned employee, Wray Hogan (right). (USACE photo)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District celebrated Founders’ Day and 150 years of service to the nation by inducting distinguished employees at district headquarters on Thursday, Aug. 17.

Vicksburg District Commander Col. Christopher Klein recognized employees with five to 45 years of service to the federal government.

Two district retirees were inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees. Ms. Barbara Petersen, former Programs Management Branch chief, and Mr. Alfred Dulaney, former Visual Information specialist, were commended for their years of service and dedication. The last inductees were recognized in 2019.
This year’s special award recognition included several employees.

The Arkabutla Lake dam safety emergency team members, which included Lanny Barfield, James Cumberland, Dalton Hanley, Dakota Kolb, Barrett Lewis, Brian Oliver, Dereck Redwine, Melinda Sisco, and Cory Winders, each received Civilian Service Achievement Medals.

Dam Safety Manager Mason Jarabica received a Civilian Service Commendation Medal for his dedication.

Jimmie Elliott received the Hydrologic Modeling and Statistics and Risk Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Coastal (HHC) Community of Practice Annual Award for improving the USACE Mississippi Valley Division’s (MVD) technical strength.

Anita Griffin received the Modeling, Mapping and Consequences Center (MMC) Award of Excellence for her contributions to labor and funding needs.

Eight employees graduated from the Vicksburg District Leadership Program (VLDP). The VLDP is a year-long undertaking that provides personnel with extracurricular assignments designed to acclimate them to future supervisory positions. The graduates included Cody Barfield, Laura Barlow, Jamie Lynn Barnes, Jennifer Brown, Mabry Dye, Resa Holmes, Judy Huell, Richard Jones, Lakenya Thomas-Coleman and Jon Munz.

The VLDP class of 2023 also organized a time capsule as part of their group project. Items include an original rivet from the nearly 90-year-old Dredge Jadwin, a vintage planimeter used for drafting, a year’s worth of The Current, the district’s employee newsletter, and a letter from the VLDP class of 2023 to the class of 2048. The time capsule will be kept at the Jesse Brent Lower Mississippi River Museum in downtown Vicksburg until 2048.

The district was founded Aug. 18, 1873, when Capt. William Henry Harrison Benyaurd opened a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Monroe, Louisiana. The first permanent Vicksburg office was established in 1884. Following the Great Flood of 1927 and subsequent Flood Control Act of 1928, the district created a comprehensive flood control program centered around the Mississippi River. The effort’s lasting effects include four Mississippi lakes and three Arkansas lakes created as flood control reservoirs, as well as numerous miles of Mississippi River mainline levees and other flood control structures. The Vicksburg District’s projects and personnel continue to serve the region, the nation, and the world.

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