NORAD, USNORTHCOM recognize community leaders

By Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM Public Affairs


PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –Five local civilian community leaders were recognized for their support and advocacy for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command at the Commander’s Community Leader Commendation Program recognition ceremony on Peterson Air Force Base April 26.

Recognized were Don Addy, National Homeland Defense Foundation president and CEO; Brian Binn, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Division president; retired Air Force Col. Bob Carlone, co-founder of The Home Front Cares Inc.; the late retired Air Force Col. Joe Henjum, co-founder of The Home Front Cares Inc. and Dr. Pamela Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor of the University of Colorado.

Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM commander, presented the community leaders with engraved medallions, framed certificates and lapel pins.

“It’s a program that allows us to say ‘thank you’ back to each of you,” Renuart said. “We talk often about how the community of Colorado Springs, the El Paso County area has embraced military members and their families and have made us feel at home. Our recipients today continue to symbolize that effort.”

Addy, a trustee of the Colorado 30 group and Chair of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Division Advisory Board, helped to establish the National Homeland Defense Foundation, which conducts the nation’s leading public forum on homeland defense and homeland security. He also co-founded the Citizen Soldier Connection, a Colorado Springs-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to the soldiers and military families stationed at Fort Carson.

“I’m just one of millions of grateful citizens in this country,” he told the audience, made up mostly of uniformed members. “Grateful to people like you, and who are eager and willing to support all the men and women in uniform that serve in our military. For me, it is because you embody all of the values that I hold dear and that I think make our country great.”

As the President of the Military Affairs Division at the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, Binn has supported NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM by coordinating quarterly military “hail and farewell” receptions, planning “Top 7” military farewell dinners, organizing Armed Forces Week activities, coordinating local and national educational briefings and military site tours and acting as the community-military liaison in planning military participation in the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, which benefits local military charities.

“We’re the tip of the iceberg,” he said of the volunteers who work with the military. “Really, the strength of the iceberg, everything that is done in this community for the military, is what’s below the surface.”

Carlone, a co-founder of The Home Front Cares Inc., has advocated support for Colorado’s military families who have been affected by deployments. More than $1,330,000 in financial aid has been contributed to military families in need since the creation of the organization in 2003.

“I know we volunteers have gotten more out of it than we have put into it,” he said. “They fought for us, now we’re fighting for them. We take care of our people, and we’ll never forget that.”

Henjum’s wife, JoAnn, accepted his award on behalf of her late husband, who died Jan. 1. A co-founder of The Home Front Cares Inc., Henjum’s efforts have helped more than 1,500 families since the organization was created in 2003. Henjum’s son, Mark, spoke on behalf of his late father.

“My dad loved you guys,” he told the military audience. “Those of you who have dedicated your lives to the service of our country. He was terribly grateful for everything you do, the sacrifices you make and the sacrifices that your families make. When events began to happen in Afghanistan and Iraq, my dad, over breakfast one day, said ‘you know we have to do something for those families.’ It was an act of gratitude.”

As chancellor and a professor of communication at the University of Colorado, Shockley-Zalabak helped design one of the nation’s first certificates in homeland security and homeland defense and helped to form the Center for Homeland Security at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She’s supported cyber-security research and worked with the NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM Training and Exercise directorate to design a doctoral program in homeland security.

“I’m personally honored, but truly I am accepting this honor on behalf of the faculty, staff and leadership of the university,” she said. “Because none of this would have happened without their efforts over the many years. I want to say that I am so proud, because it is privilege for UCCS. It is also a solemn responsibility. If you’re going to be engaged in a community, then you must make for that community opportunities for everybody.”

Renuart said these community leaders have worked hard to make the military welcome in Colorado Springs.“They have been tirelessly engaged in bringing the services of our community down to our Soldiers, our Sailors, our Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and our civilian team members,” he said. “All have a passion for giving back in the community, not just to us but across a broad spectrum of the place we call home.”

The community leaders’ names will be added to the Commander’s Community Leader Commendation Program Plaque located at the entrance of the NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM headquarters building.