GCC member awarded Sagamore of the Wabash Award

  • Published
  • By by Tech. Sgt. Ben Mota
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Warrant officers make up the technical foundation of the U.S. Army with great job responsibilities that include training Soldiers and organizing and advising on missions. For one warrant officer, those leadership skills and love for service extended past retirement, recently earning him the highest distinction in Indiana.

Ret. Chief Warrant Officer Dave Shearer was ­­­awarded The Sagamore of the Wabash Award, on behalf of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb during a dinner at Grissom, Aug. 23, 2018.

“I was extremely humbled when I found out I was receiving the award,” said Shearer. “I was very familiar with the award because I have known people who have received it, but never thought it would be me.”

The state of Indiana describes the award as a personal tribute given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to Indiana or the governor. Among those who have received the award have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to the Hoosier heritage.

“I’ve known Dave for almost 20 years and since I met him he’s been volunteering his time to help service members,” said Jay Kendall, Miami County Veteran’s Services service officer who presented the award. “His passion for service throughout the years has helped people get jobs, military benefits, and educate employers of service member’s rights.”

Following in the footsteps of prior recipients, Shearer was highly regarded for his distinguished service to the state of Indiana. That service was exemplified during his appointment to the Indiana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve where he has continued to serve as an ombudsman for more than 25 years.

The ESGR gains employer support for the Guard and Reserve by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of USERRA, resolving conflicts through mediation and developing initiatives to increase employment opportunities for military service members and veterans.

“When I first joined the military there was a stigma about volunteering, ‘don’t volunteer for anything,’” said Shearer. “But I loved the military and wanted to do everything I could to support the mission and service members, so I began volunteering.”

During the award presentation Shearer was joined by his wife Miriam, sons Mark and Bert, daughter Emily Decosta and daughter-in-law Judy.

 “I had no idea I was getting the award until they began reading the Sagamore script; I was shocked at first,” said Shearer. “But then I saw my family and got emotional.”

The award’s name, “Sagamore” was a term used by Native American tribes of Indiana to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe whom the chief consulted for wisdom.

Sagamore and its meaning mirrors Shearer’s role in his support of the Grissom Community Council where he has served as president and currently as a membership chairman.  The GCC is a civilian, non-profit organization that works in partnership with Grissom Air Reserve Base to promote programs that benefit both the base and local community.

“Dave has been a valuable asset to the GCC. His contributions have ensured hundreds of Airmen, Soldiers and Marines working here have received support in a variety of areas,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “Everything he has done over the years is a prime example of his selfless service and dedication to taking care of service members.”

Grissom is not only home to the 434th ARW, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command, it also hosts three Army Reserve units and a Marine Corps Reserve communications detachment.

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