By Kaylee LaRocque
NAS Jax Public Affairs Officer
Naval Air Station Jacksonville recently recognized two civilian employees as the 2016 Senior and Junior Civilians of the Year for their exceptional accomplishments and dedication.
Thomas Duvall, an electronics technician at Air Operations is the command's Senior Civilian of the Year and Kevin Meeks, an engineer with the First Coast Navy Fire and Emergency Services is the Junior Civilian of the Year.
Duvall earned the recognition for his diligence in troubleshooting air traffic control equipment, providing guidance, technical knowledge and training to departmental Sailors and ensuring all systems were functional to support the warfighters.
"Our jobs are critical here," said Duvall. "If we don't have our equipment up and running correctly, we can't have aircraft landing and taking off and that is the main mission of this base."
Duvall was also essential in the planning, construction, maintenance and removal of seven frequency mobile communications systems allowing NAS Jax aviation squadrons and Fleet Readiness Center Southeast to seamlessly continue operations at the Cecil Commerce Center during the station's runway project in 2016.
He spent more than 120 hours ensuring the proper alignment of the systems to remain flight check ready.
During the runway project, Duvall conducted full line testing and alignments of the air-to-ground circuit ensuring full operations to 18 tenant squadrons returning their operations to NAS Jax.
"We had some challenges because we were operating at Cecil and still had helicopters landing here but we kept everything up and running," he said.
Duvall, a retired Navy electronics technician has been part of the Air Operations Department for the past six years.
"I work on radars, communications systems, landing equipment and weather equipment and provide technical support to our Sailors," he said.
"Sometimes, they come in and have only worked on this equipment at school. And, the equipment is continuously being upgraded. Our job is to keep it up and running not only here but at the Outlying Landing Field Whitehouse tower."
As for being selected as civilian of the year, Duvall humbly stated, "It's shocking that I'm being recognized for this award because I just come to work every day to do my job. I work with a lot of good people and am very thankful to my department."
Meeks began his career with the fire department after volunteering with the Putnam and Clay County Fire Departments.
As an engineer at the NAS Jax Fire Station, he is the lead officer driving the fire trucks to call-outs and assisting on scene.
"This is something, I've always wanted to do," he said. "I was working in a machine shop and volunteering at the local fire stations. I wanted a change so with the encouragement from my wife, I applied here and was hired in 2007."
In 2016, Meeks responded to more than 200 community calls for help including multiple vehicle accidents, a structure fire in base housing and numerous lifesaving health-related issues. He is a subject matter expert for confined space rescue operations and a certified paramedic.
Meeks also coordinated training between mutual aid partners, completing 200 hours of training with multiple partners.
According to Meeks, it's a great honor to be selected as junior civilian of the year.
"I'm very humbled that I was nominated for this," he said. "It feels good to be recognized for what I do every day. We have a great team here. I'd especially like to thank Fire Chief Mark Brusoe and Assistant Fire Chief Scott Bloomer for their guidance and for continuous encouragement."
In his free time, Meeks is pursuing his bachelor's degree in organization management and attends his children's soccer games cheering them on from the sidelines.