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JBLM commander named Military Citizen of the Year

You can't ignore Col. H. Charles "Chuck" Hodges, Jr.'s awesomeness

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander Col. H. Charles “Chuck” Hodges, Jr. was named receive the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

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For just the second time in its 36-year history, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Military Affairs Committee has selected a commander to receive its John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander Col. H. Charles "Chuck" Hodges, Jr. received the award during a Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 luncheon held at the Landmark/Temple Theater in Tacoma Nov. 6.

"It's only the second time that we've selected a commander," said Gary Brackett, business and political manager for the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber. "For the very first (award) 36 years ago, (we) selected the commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing, Col. Don Brown."

Hodges, who has been in the Army for more than 29 years and became the JBLM commander in August 2012, "leads a team that gets results by working collaboratively with federal, state, county and local government officials, business and community leaders," said Amy Tiemeyer, military relations liaison for America's Credit Union, during last week's presentation ceremony. Col. Hodges was humbled to receive the award on behalf of those who work at JBLM.

"This community does more to support service members than I've ever seen, and it's my job to give back," he said. "This award is a representation of all the hard work of JBLM's service members and employees."

As the JBLM commander, Hodges serves as an integral part of a team that is helping to bring big changes to the JBLM area. Highlights of his leadership so far include:

  • Coordinating and facilitating the construction of a joint base connector road and overpass that, when it opens next spring, will reduce I-5 traffic congestion by allowing JBLM commuters to drive from Lewis-Main to McChord Field without having to use the interstate;
  • Working to replace five aging JBLM schools;
  • Leading JBLM to a Silver Army Communities of Excellence Award (2013) and Bronze Army Communities of Excellence Award (2014);
  • Helping thousands of soldiers and airmen transition to the civilian workforce with a comprehensive transitional assistance program that helps service members chart their educational goals, start new businesses and retrain into high-demand jobs;
  • Facilitating a growing relationship between JBLM, the business community and unions that include apprenticeship and job-training programs that help put local service members to work.

The selection of Col. Hodges as this year's recipient of the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award, "was in recognition of what we as a community, both civilians and the military installation, had worked together to achieve," Brackett said. "We felt that the partnership between the installation's leadership and the community at local, state and federal levels deserved some recognition."

The award is named in honor of local businessman and veteran John H. Anderson, who was the Tacoma mayor in the mid-1950s and served as the chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber board of directors.

Sponsored by America's Credit Union and a major initiative of the chamber's Military Affairs Committee, the John M. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award is always presented to an active-duty servicemember.

"Our recipient is a worthy role model, not only for uniformed personnel, but for all the citizens of our community," Tiemeyer said. "As commander of the Department of Defense's largest operational joint base, Col. Hodges is an excellent selection for the John M. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award. The countless hours he has donated to the community will be appreciated for years to come."

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