Karl Marshall

Story By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Erika L. Kugler

NAPLES, Italy—Rear Adm. Scott Gray, commander, Navy Region EURAFCENT, awarded Oana Brodnicki and Karl Marshall with the Navy Civilian Service Commendation medal in front of their colleagues, for their inspiring leadership and personal initiative in aiding their colleague, Nov. 9, 2021.

The words “reflect credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service” are often heard at military awards-at-quarters for military members in recognition of their hard work and dedication to the Nation.

Military members are not the only ones who serve their country, nor are they the only ones who can be recognized for upholding the values of their service, especially when intervention saves lives.

In June 2021, Brodnicki and Marshall, civilian employees at Commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Central (EURAFCENT), repeatedly encouraged a peer to receive medical attention, resulting in the member obtaining the critically needed medical care.

Prior to her tour in Naples, Brodnicki, a two-year employee of EURAFCENT Fleet and Family, lived in Rota, Spain, where she was volunteered her time with the Navy. Now, she is the administrative assistant for Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) and Fleet and Family departments of Navy Region EURAFCENT’s N9.

“I love it,” she said. “It is the first time I’ve worked for the Navy. I have volunteered before, but this was the first time I have been on the payroll. There is so much that goes on behind the events and  it’s great to see that other side.”

Marshall, a retired Marine and native of Baltimore, Maryland, has worked with EURAFCENT for two years. Marshall serves as the Regional Training and Improvement Specialist.

“Training is what I did in the Marine Corps,” said Marshall. “Everything is computerized now so it’s seamless managing the regional training for MWR.”

While the two coworkers have had different experiences and come from different backgrounds, they teamed up to share their concern for their coworker until he sought medical attention.

“He came back from the gym,” Brodnicki remembered. “He had been expressing he felt weak all morning. It took us a while to convince him, but we were both concerned and he finally did go . To my understanding, about 10 minutes after he arrived at medical they found out it was a heart attack.”

Both agreed they had not expected such a life-threating situation.

“It was a shock,” said Brodnicki. “He’s a young man, our age; it made me happy to know we encouraged him to go to medical.”

Marshall agreed with being surprised about the severity of the situation, but was happy they followed their instincts to encourage the member to seek medical attention.

The Navy Civilian Commendation medal is presented to civilians who have distinguished themselves for going beyond what is usually expected, and is the Navy and Marine Corps fourth highest award for civilians.

“I am highly appreciative that someone recognized us with an award,” said Marshall.

Brodnicki expressed her appreciation, as well.

“It was wonderful to be acknowledged like that,” she said. “I know a lot of people do wonderful things all the time and they don’t get recognized. So for us to be recognized was really nice.”

Gray presented 18 awards, including two Navy Civilian Service Commendation medals, two military awards, and 14 civilian Length of Service awards ranging from 5 to 35 years of government service for local national and civilian employees in five different of departments.

Navy Region EURAFCENT oversees nine installations in seven countries, enabling U.S., allied and partner nation forces to be where and when they are needed in order to ensure security and stability in the European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility.

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members!  Join here!