Local businessman receives highest civilian award for 30 years of military volunteer work
By Paul Zima, Civlian Military Community Relations Council
/ Published November 07, 2008
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- If you've lived, worked or just visited the Space Coast, then odds are you've been touched by Mr. Dave Spain's hard work and volunteer spirit.
In a recent Washington, D.C. ceremony, the Defense Intelligence Agency, a combat support agency under the Department of Defense, recognized Mr. Spain with the highest award that the Office of the Secretary of Defense can bestow on any civilian - The Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award.
Twenty other members of Brevard County's Civilian Military Community Relations Council also were awarded a certificate of appreciation at the 30th anniversary of "Dragon Warrior," the capstone exercise of a 13-week training program held here on the Space Coast that prepares future defense attaches for posts in more than 130 embassies worldwide.
As owner of the Comfort Inn in downtown Cocoa Beach, Mr. Spain is no stranger to leading by example. He has been a prominent resident of Brevard County and the Space Coast for nearly 40 years and for 30 years he has been a member of the local CivMil organization.
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our nation, when A1A was forced to close for the safety and security of Patrick Air Force Base, it was Dave Spain who led the community efforts in support of the local military. Likewise for more than 30 years, Mr. Spain has been an untiring supporter of the Defense Intelligence Agency's critical attaché training efforts.
The award citation reads; "Without his complete support, dedication and patriotism, 'Dragon Warrior' could not achieve its objectives with such precision and effect. Mr. Spain's unique service had significant and positive impacts on molding attaché graduates who can effectively represent the Secretary of Defense and other senior military leaders in military diplomatic posts in embassies throughout the world."
In his comments at the award presentation, DIA Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples said the award was long overdue.
"I have encountered few individuals in my career as dedicated to supporting the DOD mission as Mr. Dave Spain. His selflessness and hard work over the last 30 years has not only directly contributed to the training of our forward deployed DIA members but to the safety and security of our great nation."
For Mr. Spain, it's a matter of returning the favor.
"The effort that the uniformed people put out and the daily hardships they put up with year in and year out ... that's the sort of thing that allows the ordinary civilian to go about their daily business. For me it's an honor to work with them."
Mr. Spain also said this was not an individual award.
"It was a tremendous honor," said Mr. Spain. "But I'm sorry more of our membership wasn't able to attend the ceremony, because this was an opportunity for our local CivMil membership to be honored for the efforts they've given over the past 30 years in support of the joint military attaché school."