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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

National Guard Association honors Wisconsinites

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Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office

Two Wisconsin residents - a National Guard officer and a civilian - received awards today (Aug. 29) at the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) annual convention in Milwaukee.

Capt. Jason Crabb, of Verona, chief of future operations with the Wisconsin National Guard Joint Staff, is one of six national recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award for Company Grade Officers. A Wisconsin Air National Guard member for 14 years with three years in the active component Air Force, he spent many years as the officer in charge of the Wisconsin National Guard's Joint Operations Center. His performance in that role prompted his nomination.

"It's an honor and a privilege to receive this award," he said. "I'm glad to have the opportunity to represent Wisconsin on our home turf."

Lt. Col. David May, with the Wisconsin National Guard's operations directorate for military support, has supervised Crabb for nearly three years in the Joint Operations Center.

"When I saw the award, Jason was the first one I thought of," May said. "He's an outstanding leader. He understands operations, he's a strategic thinker, he's mature beyond his years and has the experience to back him up."

According to the award citation, "His ardent and steadfast efforts, combined with shrewd resource management and development of assigned personnel, has enabled the Wisconsin Joint Operations Center to grow into a robust and mature asset critical to the Wisconsin National Guard's response capability."

Crabb said the award is not an individual achievement, noting that outstanding officers and noncommissioned officers are responsible for a successful Joint Operations Center.

Jennifer Van Kirk, of Brookfield, a partner in the Milwaukee law firm Peckerman, Klein and Van Kirk since 2009, is one of five national recipients of the Patrick Henry Award. A Wisconsin National Guard Family Program volunteer since 2004, Van Kirk has served in several volunteer positions and on the Family Program's state advisory council. In 2010 she was named to the Pro Bono Honor Roll for providing pro bono legal services to service members, veterans and families of service members in Wisconsin.

"Those who know me well know that I am rarely speechless," she said. "However, I am at a loss for words because of the magnitude of this recognition. The National Guard family, both service members and volunteers, is filled with kind and hardworking people, full of integrity and courage. To be chosen by that same National Guard family, and nominated by people for whom I have great respect, is an unparalleled honor for me."
Van Kirk said she volunteers because she enjoys helping families and service members, and has enjoyed opportunities to learn, observe deployment training, and hear Gen. William Casey, Jr., former Army Chief of Staff.

"I have also had the distinct pleasure of meeting amazing service members, family members and volunteers who will be my lifelong friends," she said.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, said both recipients deserved their awards.

"The Wisconsin National Guard is blessed to have individuals such as Capt. Crabb and Ms. Van Kirk who embody the dedication and devotion of our organization," Dunbar said. "The bedrock of the National Guard rests upon professionalism, volunteerism and family. Without those vital components, we could not succeed in our mission to safeguard community and country."

The Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award, first presented in 2006, recognizes the achievements and dedicated service of Army and Air junior officers who demonstrate outstanding leadership and professionalism in their service to country and community. The Patrick Henry Award, created in 1989, recognizes local officials and civic leaders who distinguish themselves by exceptional service to the U.S. Armed Forces, the National Guard or NGAUS.

The 133rd NGAUS Convention is a three-day conference including keynote speakers, discussion on important legislative issues, and access to the largest defense industry trade show. The event began Saturday (Aug. 27) at the Frontier Airlines Center Exhibit Hall in downtown Milwaukee.

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