By Jeffrey C. Doepp, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Va. – Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic Maintenance Mechanic Work Leader Mario Torres, a 37-year government service career employee at Public Works Department (PWD) Great Lakes, and North Chicago, Illinois native, has been named recipient of the 2021 Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award.
The prestigious award, given each year, was established in 2012 and named in honor of a longtime NAVFAC headquarters employee to recognize civil servants who best personify a career of service, selflessness, and dedication with 20 or more years of service to NAVFAC, the 1st Naval Construction Division, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, or any subordinate unit.
“Mr. Torres epitomizes what it means to be a civil servant. He has dedicated himself to providing an exceptional level of pride and professionalism to the Sailors stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes for nearly 37 years,” said NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Tres Meek. “His dedication and resolve to support the warfighter has resounded throughout the workforce, and his commitment to the development and mentorship of his personnel epitomizes the spirit of Peggy Craig and reflects positively on the entire NAVFAC enterprise. He is truly most deserving of this award.”
Torres’ willingness to try out new things is evident when he volunteered to serve as a first responder on the Facility Response Team for PWD Great Lakes, which provides training for on-water oil spills and recovery efforts. He regularly volunteers for the most difficult tasks, whether it is crawling into steam pits or accessing outdated mechanical rooms. His efforts directly impact the quality of life for 40,000 Navy recruits annually, and thousands of other Navy students and civilians. Additionally, in the last 20 years, more than 10 employees whom he personally mentored have gone on to become work leaders, supervisors, and estimators throughout PWD Great Lakes.
Dedicated to ensuring mission success and placing the needs of the department ahead of his own, Torres did not hesitate when called upon to step in as the project shop supervisor when a hiring freeze kept the position vacant for several months. His flexibility and enthusiasm to support the command has earned him the respect of his coworkers and has reflected well on NAVFAC. His most recent contribution, the $4.5 million project to convert two recruit drill halls into Restriction of Movement barracks, capable of housing more the 1,300 recruits in support of COVID-19 emergency operations, is a great illustration of this point.
From starting as an apprentice welder after graduating high school in 1984, to his current position as maintenance mechanic work leader, Torres clearly personifies a career of service, selflessness, and dedication.
“It is an incredible honor to have been nominated and chosen for this award, and I am very grateful and humbled,” said Torres, who started his NAVFAC career working half days as part of the Cooperative Work Training program before graduating from high school. “This is a great milestone in my career.”
Torres credits the success of his career to a work ethic instilled in him by his parents and having a job he enjoys with coworkers who make coming to work a pleasure.
“My family has been there for me my entire career and I thank them, first and foremost,” he said. “There are also so many coworkers and mentors who took the extra time to teach me everything I know, and I thank every one of them for the privilege and honor to work with each of them since day one.”
NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides facilities engineering, public works and environmental products and services across an area of responsibility that spans from Georgia to Maine and as far west as Indiana. As an integral member of the Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic team, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides leadership through the Regional Engineer organization to ensure the region's facilities and infrastructure are managed efficiently and effectively.