The votes are in and The American Legion, Department of Indiana has named the winners of the Military Person of the Year awards.
Every year at the Indiana American Legion Convention, Legionnaires recognize the top military members in Active Duty, Reserves and National Guard service.
Northern Vice Commander of the American Legion Department of Indiana, Pete VanWoerden, who announced the winners, Said, “We are extremely pleased with the number and quality of all the service members who will be announced today. They should be proud of their tremendous service to their communities, state and nation”.
The National Guard Military Person of the Year is Indiana National Guard Master Sgt. Alan E. Thomas Jr.
Master Sgt. Thomas was sponsored by American Legion Post 270 in the 1st District.
Thomas is the senior battalion operations non-commissioned officer for the 113th Engineer Battalion headquartered in Gary. He began his military career in 2001 when he enlisted in the Indiana Army National Guard as a Combat Engineer for the 113th.
From there, Thomas quickly rose through the ranks while serving in two overseas deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Army Combat Action Badge for actions in enemy contact and the Valorous Unit Award, the second highest unit decoration that may be bestowed upon a U.S. Army unit.
As a “Citizen Soldier,” Thomas has also given back to his community. He has personally devoted more than 300 hours of volunteer service to the “March of Babies” fundraiser, a feat that earned him recognition from the National Guard by awarding him the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
The Reserve Military Person of the Year is Lieutenant Commander Blair E. Milo.
Lieutenant Commander Milo was sponsored by American Legion Post 403 in the 3rd District.
Milo was commissioned into the United States Navy in 2004 where she served as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer for the USS Mason (DDG 87). During this time, she completed two Persian Gulf deployments.
After serving in Bahrain and Iraq, Milo transferred to the Chief of Naval Operations staff at the Pentagon where she worked on the Navy’s newest stealth destroyer ship class, DDG-1000.
In 2010, Milo transitioned from active to reserve duty where she served as a Surface Warfare subject matter expert at the Office of Naval Intelligence before transferring to the NATO Warfare Development Group in Great Lakes, Illinois.
She currently holds the rank as Lieutenant Commander while serving in the Standby Reserve.
Milo has also volunteered for multiple community service opportunities, including time in public office. She was first elected Mayor of La Porte, Indiana in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. Since 2012, Mayor Milo has led a community team that has created a business environment where over $266 million in investment and 1,100 new jobs have been created.
The Active Duty Person of the Year is Staff Sgt. China Amber Lee.
Staff Sgt. Lee was sponsored by American Legion Post 354 in the 8th District.
Lee enlisted in the United States Army in 2009 and completed Advanced Individual Training for Petroleum Supply Specialist. In 2011, she deployed to Afghanistan where she conducted convoy security. Once she returned from deployed, Lee completed training to become a Human Resource Specialist.
From there, Lee went on to serve in a number of overseas duty stations including Germany and Korea.
While serving in Germany, Lee was awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for devoting over 140 hours to the Garrison Better Opportunity for Single Solders (BOSS) program.
Lee is currently a U.S. Army Recruiter for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Evansville, Indiana.
The American Legion, Department of Indiana honors local heroes in the fields of military service, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services, and educators every year in communities across Indiana.
The American Legion is comprised of more than 77,000 military service veterans who have served honorably during times of conflict in defense of their nation and has been active within Indiana since 1919. The Indiana American Legion has represented veterans from every major conflict since World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan within its membership.
Together, we change lives for Veterans, their families and their communities.
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