DeCA’s Montague among recipients of SecDef Award for Outstanding Employees, Service Members with Disabilities
NOTE: To see photos, go to the agency’s Flickr site.
FORT LEE, Va. – Marcus Montague, store worker at Fort Sam Houston Commissary, Texas, was honored as one of 18 recipients of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Awards for Outstanding Department of Defense Employees and Service Members with Disabilities. The announcement was made Sept. 24, by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
On Oct. 1, at the Fort Sam Houston Commissary, Montague and a small group of family, coworkers and friends gathered together at the front of the store to watch the live stream of the official ceremony from the Pentagon. Due to the coronavirus pandemic all awardees participated in the ceremony virtually.
Montague, who is legally blind, has worked at the Fort Sam Houston Commissary for the past six years where he helps stock fresh fruits and vegetables in the produce department. He is directly responsible for keeping the banana displays full.
This year’s awards mark 40 years of the Department of Defense recognizing its employees and service members with disabilities. Every year since October 1981, DOD has honored those who have made significant contributions to the Department’s mission and best demonstrate the core values of their respective DOD components.
DOD has set a goal for its agencies that 2 percent of the workforce be made up of people with targeted disabilities, which are considered more serious health conditions. Specifically, 1.99 percent of DeCA’s employees have targeted disabilities.
Montague was initially nominated by Aretha Queen, Fort Sam Houston store director, as a candidate for DeCA’s Disabled Employee of the Year. In May, the agency announced his selection as DeCA’s nominee for the DOD award.
“He has no boundaries when it comes to helping people,” Queen said. “When you talk to him or just watch him interact with others there’s a genuine concern and openness about others. He’s easy to be around because you know he doesn’t judge people. He is what every employee should strive to be.”
And when it comes to his coworkers, Queen said it’s easy to see how much they care and respect Montague.
“His colleagues have a big brother or sister type of relationship with him,” she said. “Anyone who sees their interactions can see how genuine all of their relationships are with him. He is always open to new tasks and is concerned about ensuring his job is done, always keeping his co-workers informed. You can tell he loves what he does.”
In his free time Montague follows the San Antonio Spurs basketball team and the San Antonio Football (soccer) Club. He is also active with the Special Olympics.
PHOTO CAPTION: Marcus Montague (center), store worker at Fort Sam Houston Commissary, Texas, was honored as one of 18 recipients of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Awards for Outstanding Department of Defense Employees and Service Members with Disabilities. Here, he is shown with Store Director Aretha Queen (left) and Jessica Cardosa, assistant store director. (Photo: Jose Torres. Fort Sam Houston public affairs office)
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.