News: JBLM service members recognized for public service
Story by Capt. Michael Greenberger
PUYALLUP, Wash. – Two service members from Joint Base Lewis-McChord were recognized for their public service as part of a memorial Sept. 11 concert at the Puyallup Fair Sept. 12.
In a ceremony sponsored by the Puyallup Seventh-day Adventist Church and Northwest Christian School, members of the police and fire departments as well as the military were formally recognized for selfless service including Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy J. Jenniges and Army Sgt. Jonathan Cheung.
“Tonight, although we remember the 9-11 tragedy and those most directly affected by it, we focus on and we celebrate and we honor the heroism demonstrated that day and in the days since by those in our midst who are willing to risk their lives in service to their country and to us, its inhabitants,” said associate pastor Michael Demma.
“While the tragic and fatal events of September 11th, 2001 showed the worst of human nature, it also offered a colossal opportunity to highlight the best values and attitudes that can reside in human nature,” Demma said.
Puyallup Mayor Kathy Turner was also on hand to speak about those being honored.
“We are here tonight because we must never forget,” Turner said. “We must never forget those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. We must remember the victims today and everyday and we must honor our heroes.”
Attendees were treated to a concert featuring the America Remembers Concert Choir and Brass Ensemble, and a vocal-worship trio named Keepers of the Faith. While the music could be heard in the night air over the Puyallup Fairgrounds, so too could the rising applause for those honored that night.
“I’m really taken aback by all the attention,” Jenniges said. “It’s really very humbling and this award with the community is just awesome. It’s good to know I’m appreciated but there are tons of other guys in the squadron doing the same thing I do every day.”
Even as Jenniges accepted the award from the community in Puyallup, he knew he would be leaving for the skies overseas on yet another mission as a loadmaster on a C-17 Globemaster III with the 4th Airlift Squadron.
“It feels great that I could represent I Corps out here today,” Cheung said. “Growing up I never imagined I’d be presented with an award like this or be standing in front of a crowd and having people talk about me. It’s pretty awe-inspiring to think about it.”
Cheung, a medic with the 520th Medical Company (Area Support), was recently named I Corps Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year in May after competing with other NCOs across the base.
All the awardees had their senior leaders on hand to introduce them to the crowd. Command Sgt. Maj. Frank A. Grippe, command sergeant major for I Corps, beamed as he introduced Cheung as the Corp’s NCO of the Year.
“He’s a combat veteran, he’s highly educated in both civilian and military terms, he’s got great goals in life and I thought he’d make a great representative tonight,” Grippe said. “He’s a true microcosm of American professionalism.”
The America Remembers concert was the third held at the Puyallup fair.