News: Disability doesn't stop excellence
Story by Misha King
WASHINGTON - The Department of Defense recognized a Defense Contract Management Agency employee Tuesday at the 32nd Annual Department of Defense Disability Awards Ceremony held at the Pentagon. Sam Isaacs was named the 2012 DCMA Outstanding Employee with a Disability for extraordinary services as an engineer/industrial specialist within DCMA Southern Europe.
Isaacs recalls the moment he learned of his nomination. “Wow, I cannot believe this is happening to me! Is this for real?” Isaacs asked his contract management office commander, Army Lt. Col. Americus Gill, when he announced the award at a recent all-hands meeting.
Isaacs suffered combat injuries resulting in the amputation of his right leg and third degree burns over most of his body while serving in defense forces. However, these wounds haven’t stopped Isaacs from performing his job — they’ve inspired him to prove that disability doesn’t stop excellence.
“If you could peek at Sam Isaacs’ time and attendance records, you’d see he hasn’t missed a single day of work because of his disability,” said Gill. “He’s an indispensable teammate and proves his worth day in and day out. If I didn’t know Sam personally, I wouldn’t have known that he even has a disability.”
Gill said Isaacs deeply understands DCMA’s mission and the importance of strategic engagements. One of Isaacs’ many accomplishments include coordinating a U.S. ambassador visit to a contractor that produces armor kits for military vehicles.
“The visit resulted in a Department of State YouTube video that ranked second amongst all videos the U.S. Embassy posted this year,” said Gill. “The ambassador personally recognized Sam for the visit…especially because it helped educate and highlight the great partnership.”
Receiving the award goes beyond personal recognition for Isaacs. He believes there’s a deeper, more meaningful message for everyone to learn from. “I think this kind of recognition is great — it demonstrates sensitivities to the disabled as they are performing their duties in an outstanding manner,” said Isaacs. “It sends a direct message to society from the top that disabled folks are part of society in every way.”
saacs said working for DCMA International enables him to travel to many countries in Europe and South Africa, where he sees a lack of sensitivity for the disabled. “The countries of the world have a lot to learn from the United States. We should be proud of all our affirmative action programs."