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NEWS | June 4, 2024

SMR employees honored at DMA luncheon

By Mike Vrabel | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and retired Col. Everton E. Nevers, the Virginia Department of Military Affairs Chief Operations Officer, presented DMA state employees awards and recognitions during a luncheon May 22, 2024, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

During the event, Ring and Nevers presented SMR state employees with awards for years of service anniversaries and agency-wide awards.

Ring gave remarks at the event, as did Col. James C. Shaver Jr., the Fort Barfoot garrison commander, and Lt. Col. Emily Huffman, the SMR garrison commander. 

“Thanks to each and every single one of you individually for what you do,” said Ring. “We as an organization can’t do what we do individually and collectively without the work of every single one of you all. I can’t ever overstate the importance of our Department of Military Affairs employees.”

The installation, originally founded as the state rifle range prior to World War I, is home to several different units and organizations, including the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, 192nd Wing, as well as the Virginia Army National Guard’s 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. It  is also home to elements within the 183rd Cavalry Regiment, the 429th Brigade Support Battalion and the 1030th Transportation Battalion, in addition to other detachments and programs. 

SMR has been the home to the Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy, the Virginia Component of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, for 30 years. The mission of CCYA is to intervene in the lives of teens by providing a 5 1/2 month quasi-military residential program that focuses on eight core components (academics, leadership, community service, responsible citizenship, physical fitness, health, life coping and career skills) and provides community and career support for two years following graduation. 

SMR also serves as a vital training installation, not just for the Virginia National Guard, but for personnel from all four branches of the military, both active duty and reserve, local and state first responders and a variety of community organizations. 

Shaver called on the gathered employees to recognize that while the installation is small, its mission is a vital one. 

“If you don’t think that SMR is important, you’re mistaken,” said Shaver. “To be such a small installation, it pops up on the radar all the time. Everything you guys do is a team effort from the ChalleNGe program, to the 203rd RED HORSE to the SMR garrison. I appreciate everything you guys do.”

 Huffman also solicited for feedback to help make the installation even better for its employees and tenet organizations. 

“Whether it’s pros or cons, we need your feedback,” said Huffman. “What can we do better for you to make your SMR career better? My SMR staff cares, and we want to make it the best place. This is a diamond in the rough, and we’re going to make sure the rest of the community knows it.”

In addition to the formal awards, Ring and Shaver also presented their special challenge coins to select staff members for going above and beyond in their duties. 

The following awards and recognitions were presented during the luncheon: 

Service Awards: 

10 Years: Jasmine Martin

35 Years: Ronald Cason and Lloyd Hines

Agency-wide Awards: 

DMA Agency STAR Award: Daniel Breslin

Teamwork Award: State Military Reservation Lodging: Corina Cason, Donald Garcia, Frederick Temple, James Poindexter, Jessica Jaunet, Lloyd Hines, Rieko Luking, Ronald Cason, Russell Gregg and Stephanie Garcia 

Earlier in May, DMA held a similar recognition luncheon for state employees working at Fort Barfoot. Read more about that ceremony at

For more news about the DMA, visit

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