It was a good night when 73 year old Daniel Campbell finally got a solid night’s rest. For years, his sleep was interrupted by images nearly half a century old — images of death and horror in Vietnam.
“I lost my best friend in Vietnam,” Campbell said. “And I was wounded, too. For years afterward, I couldn’t sleep because I kept seeing those images. They were terrible.”
Now, Campbell said, things have changed, and they changed because of a trip he took with fellow Vietnam veterans on HonorAir Knoxville. HonorAir has flown more than 2800 East Tennessee veterans, at no cost to them, to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built to honor their sacrifices.
“I was able to find my friend on the Vietnam War Memorial wall,” he said. He traced his friend’s name to paper and now has that keepsake. He also has another new memory. One that he says brought closure to his Vietnam experience.
“The reception at McGhee Tyson Airport,” said Campbell. “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life. It brought tears to my eyes and closure to my heart to see all those people waving American flags and thanking me for my service.”
Among those in the crowd was first timer Ralph Adcox of Safety & Industrial Hygiene. Adcox was with other Y-12 workers who regularly attend these homecomings.
Adcox has extra motivation to be there. He is a former Vietnam veteran and recalls the political turmoil and protests over the war in the 1960s.
“As a veteran, I felt it was important that fellow Vietnam vets get the long deserved ‘welcome home’ they did not get upon returning from their deployment,” said Adcox.
The trip and reception home was emotional for Campbell, and Adcox said it was emotional for him.
“Some of us enlisted, and some were drafted. Regardless, all of us took an oath and served the call of our country to the best of our ability,” Adcox said. “Being in a hostile zone requires the respect and support for our fellow soldier, sailor, airman, marine, and coast guardsman to survive. All those branches of the military were represented in the welcome home celebration, and I am proud to have taken part.”
HonorAir Knoxville was one of 30 non profit organizations that received a Y-12 Community Investment Fund grant this year.
This summer, 26 college students worked at Consolidated Nuclear Security and participated in professional development, science and engineering lectures, networking events, and social activities with mentors and peers. The 2016 interns represented 16 universities from across the country and are pursuing degrees in mechanical, electrical, nuclear, and chemical engineering, as well as physics, optics, information technology, and math.
Ashley Stowe of Mission Engineering said the interns “are bright, hardworking and fun to interact with. They have accomplished a lot this summer. I am excited that we were able to host six interns at Pantex this summer and look forward to growing the CNS intern program further next summer.” (The six Pantex interns don’t include the two West Point cadets who also spent time at Pantex.)
CNS Student Interns Program Manager Rachel Winningham agreed. “Going forward, I would like to expand the program by providing co-op opportunities and having interns across more organizations.”
Whether they were a Pantexan or a Y-12er, one thing was certain: The interns return to college with a unique experience and the employees with whom they interacted take away something too.
Winningham said, “When you’re around the interns (even for a short timeframe), their energy rubs off on you. I want them to walk away from the internship with newly acquired skillsets, meaningful work assignments to put on their resume, and the opportunity to have networked with other interns and employees.”
Terry Cothron is considered one of the founding fathers of the environmental program at Y-12. This year, his tremendous efforts were acknowledged as he received the change agent award as part of the NNSA Sustainability Awards.
The change agent award recognizes individuals who take the initiative to foster behavior change in their immediate work environment, organization or site. Cothron, an environmental compliance manager, was also named a Sustainability Superstar by DOE’s Sustainability Performance Office in its May DOE Sustainability SPOlight newsletter.
“For the past 26 years, Terry Cothron has helped to create a renaissance in modernization and environmental improvement at Y-12 National Security Complex, and the Oak Ridge Reservation,” the newsletter article said. “As evidence of Terry’s leadership skills and commitment to sustainability, Y‑12 removed mountains of legacy materials, constructed modern sustainable buildings and developed award-winning environmental programs.
“Change agents are merely catalysts,” Cothron said. “The changes are effected by the people who work every day to see that the change results in a cleaner, better environment.” The NNSA release announcing the award cited Cothron’s “integral” role in securing approval to build two modern buildings — New Hope Center and Jack Case Center — to the standards of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED.
During his visit to Y‑12 on June 7, McConnell presented Excellence Awards to Dwain Coppenger, Melanie Dillon and Jane Nations for their work on the NNSA BUILDER implementation initiative. Nations was given an Excellence Award for her work on the CRISP Deferred Maintenance Team.
BUILDER is NNSA’s new infrastructure management software tool. The CRISP Deferred Maintenance Team provided valuable guidance on how NNSA could improve what is reported as deferred maintenance for more than 6,000 assets across eight sites.
This spring, more than 750 Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC employees participated in the Active for Life℠ challenge, an 8‑week program, sponsored by the American Cancer Society®, that encouraged employees to be more mindful of healthy behaviors on a daily basis. Participants formed 57 teams, each led by a team captain who helped provide motivation and reminders to log points on the program’s website.
This year marked the third time Y-12 participated in the Active for Life challenge and the second time Pantex participated. It was the first time for the sites to compete as OneTeam against six other U.S. Department of Energy sites. Linda Bauer, vice president for Mission Assurance, which includes Environment, Safety and Health, participated on the CNS Executive Leadership Team led by Y-12 Site Manager Bill Tindal.
“Active for Life encourages healthy habits and fitness through friendly competition among colleagues across DOE facilities, while enhancing teambuilding and collaboration,” Bauer said. “I’m a firm believer that the healthier we are, the happier we are on—and off—the job.”
Participants received one point for each minute they were active each day, as well as points for servings of fruits and vegetables and glasses of water. Points were logged on the Active for Life website, which allowed users to track nutrition intake and weight maintenance goals. LiveWise added weekly bonus challenges for the CNS teams to provide ways to earn extra points, as well as fun opportunities to build team spirit and engagement. These challenges included on-site pushup and plank competitions, weekly water and vegetable intake goals, and participation in community fitness events. More than 80 Y-12 employees participated in this year’s Secret City 5K for Haiti, which rewarded registrants with 25 bonus points.
The top team, Team OSHA, was led by captain Jan Wuest of Training and Development, who logged the most individual activity points throughout the program. An avid hiker, Wuest, along with teammates Becky Ownby and Lee Lutner, averaged almost 800 minutes of physical activity per week during the 8-week campaign. Wuest credits the success to “working together as a team and a support system.”
“There was no ‘captain.’ In this team, we were equal partners, and we encouraged each other to do the best we can,” Wuest said.
In addition to the CNS team, other competitors were: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Nevada National Security Site, Ames Laboratory, National Renewable Energy and Sandia National Laboratories (New Mexico and California).
“Communication between the sites helps foster a wellness coalition in the DOE complex, where we can learn from each other’s best practices to improve employees’ health,” said Karen Lacey, CNS wellness coordinator and Active for Life program co‑director.
CNS came in sixth place; while a rank decrease from last year’s standings, the overall activity scores were higher. CNS participants averaged 47 minutes of activity daily, far outpacing statistics that state 60 percent of American adults fall short of meeting physical activity recommendations of 30 minutes most days.
Sherry Philyaw, Pantex Safety Culture advocate and CNS Active for Life program co-director said a few weather challenges did not dissuade participants. “Active for Life is a fantastic way to establish healthy habits and get out and enjoy the community, your family and friends, and the weather.”