By MC2 Amanda Cabasos
NAS Jax staff writer

Thomas Duvall, an electronics technician at the Air Operations Department and Child and Youth Program (CYP) Assistant Training and Curriculum Specialist Amanda Johnson at Youth Activities Center were named NAS Jax Senior and Junior Civilians of the First Quarter respectively. 

Duvall is a subject matter expert on all navigation aids and landing air traffic control communication systems maintained by Ground Electronics Maintenance Division (GEMD). He provides training required by GEMD for the qualification of military duty watch technicians. Duvall saved the division $19,066 by repairing - rather than purchasing - two Approach Radar 400 hertz converter circuits. 

When HSM-72 and HSM-74 reported they were experiencing static interference on the common traffic advisory frequency, Duvall identified the problem, located the issue that came from the MH-60R helicopter that resulted in the prevention of a possible aircraft accident.  

Assistant GEMD Officer Steve Harper at NAS Jax Air Operations said, "Thomas Duvall is an outstanding technician. He consistently performs great work for GEMD. Our job is to analyze and investigate any interference and communication problems. Duvall not only does that but also determines when our equipment isn't involved. He went outside of our guidelines to actively become involved in the investigation and troubleshooting of the MH-60R helicopter airframe. He not only determined this major problem of static frequency interferences at NAS Jax - but also around the country, as well as over the ocean and other areas where helicopters operate."

"I never was expecting anything like this," said Duvall. "I was just doing my job and protecting the warfighter from any potential accidents in order to ensure safe flights throughout the base. I love what I do. Every day is new and exciting and I look forward to coming to work," concluded Duvall.

Amanda Johnson has developed and delivered training to all youth center staff that included steps and procedures to identify and accommodate children with special needs who are participating in the various CYP programs. Johnson is sensitive to all disabled and special-needs children who attend programs at the Youth Activity Center. She has a gift and a way of connecting with these children that makes a difference in their lives. 

Johnson has the knowledge and ability to work with children from every side of the spectrum. Since September 2013, when she became the assistant training and curriculum specialist, she has created a number of programs for children, parents and staff. Some programs include a few "Muffins for Moms," "Donuts for Dads" and an open house for home-schooled children. More than 30 children and parents have attended the open house program and as a result, the groups now meets monthly. 

According to CDC Director Mary Grenier, Johnson's contributions to the CYP have been outstanding. 

"Amanda has worked at the Youth Activities Center for 11 years and contributed greatly to the program," said Grenier. "She attended college while being a full-time employee and earned her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She has moved up in our system and I expect her to continue to excel throughout her career here. I'm very excited that she was selected COQ - she certainly deserves it for everything she does for the children."

Johnson said, "Working with special-needs children is something I deeply love. I love working with all children, but I have a desire to learn about our children with special needs to help them better adapt to our programs offered at the youth center."

"We have children with autism and Down syndrome that come to the youth center who are especially important to me because I know they have a harder time adapting to life. I do my best to help these children get through the day. I try figuring out the best way to get them to interact with other children. I also try to find the best solution for parents to feel comfortable leaving their kids here. So I always communicate with them to assure them of their child's safety and inform them on what is going on throughout the day."

According to Johnson, she was astounded when she discovered she was receiving an award. "It was exciting to be recognized. I didn't even know I was eligible for it. I was very honored. I've just been doing my job that I love to do every day. And for others around me to recognize what I do and think it's good is really heart warming. I couldn't have done it without the help from my counselors who work so well with the children here, as well as having great leadership to look up too."