By Mimi Jansen
TACOMA – It is the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s honor to present the 2013 Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award to Washington Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Stephen Ryan.
SSG Ryan is a valued NCO who has served the Washington Army National Guard with distinction for more than 12 years. He is highly regarded in the maintenance community as one of the best practitioners of the Standard Army Maintenance System Enhanced (SAMS-E).
SSG Ryan has performed flawlessly in any position he has held throughout his illustrious career. His off duty work with the 951st Maintenance Company’s Family Readiness Program is a tribute to his dedication to his unit and fellow Soldiers. He continues to volunteer and give his personal time to the men and women of the 951st as a leader and mentor of our citizen Soldiers.
For the last six years SSG Ryan has volunteered numerous hours with Pierce County Friends and Athletes (PCFA), one of the largest independent Special Olympics programs in the state. The organization provides spiritual, social, educational and athletic opportunities for developmentally disabled youth and adults in an inclusive environment where activities are designed to be share with loving, non-disabled friends. He has assisted with the bowling and track and field events in preparation for the Washington State Special Olympics.
SSG Ryan is the head usher at Lakewood New Hope Community Church where he spent a year as a board member. He has been a leader in small group study as well as an active participant in the men’s ministry. SSG Ryan and his wife, Cathy, assist members of their church with the care of a child with Down syndrome and a young man with multiple mental conditions.
In October 2011, after Pierce County Shuttle suspended its handicap rides to JBLM, SSG Ryan stepped in and continues to give a ride to a wheelchair-bound employee of Waller Hall. Without SSG Ryan’s help, the employee would not have a way to get to and from work.
Whether SSG Ryan is serving as a loyal member of the Washington National Guard in uniform, or as an active, caring and giving member of the Pierce County community, SSG Ryan’s compassion, commitment and community impact and beyond makes him deserving of the Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award.
“America’s Credit Union (ACU) was excited to present this year’s citizen-soldier award. ACU has supported our area soldiers and their families since 1954, so it goes without saying that we would jump at the chance to honor such an exemplary citizen soldier,” said Amy Tiemeyer, America’s Credit Union, (Award Sponsor).