Blog post by Anthony Winbush, Paralegal, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of the General Counsel
I am a senior non-commissioned officer in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps. I serve as the Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA, reserve) to the Command Paralegal Manager, Headquarters, Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Basically what that means is that I manage all IMA paralegals assigned to the command and their activities—incuding planning, overall training, and development. I also serve as the liaison between the assigned IMAs, active duty, and Air Force Reserve Command.
I was born and raised in Oakland, California. I graduated from California State University, Fresno in 2007. After accepting a position with the Department of Justice as an environmental law paralegal in 2013, my family and I moved to Maryland. In 2014, I earned my Master of Arts in Public Policy from Liberty University. Now I’m pursuing a Master of Science in Law, specializing in environmental law, at the University of Maryland.
Outside of work, my wife and I have volunteered as mentors at the National Center for Children and Families, which helps create healthy living environments for vulnerable children and families. This is important to me because I grew up in the foster system and I understand the struggles these children face.
In fact, the person who had the greatest impact on my life was my foster father, Thomas Hunter. He taught me the importance of education, hard work, and love for oneself. Although he unfortunately passed away in 2014 from cancer, his love and kindness will never be forgotten.
Also, as a man of service, my absolute favorite quote is Isaiah 6:8—“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” This quote resonates with me because, as a member of the armed services, I am asked to go into harm’s way in the advancement of our nation’s interest. Military service is a unique calling. Those of us who have enlisted our services in defense of our nation have done so for love of country and each other.
Really, to me, the term “veteran” simply means service. Regardless of the branch or career specialty, service is what truly unifies members of the armed profession. We are united by the ideals of service before self and excellence in all we do! I have learned over the years that mission success depends on the collective. The very nature of the military forces its service members and civilian personnel to shift their state of mind from a focus on themselves to a focus on the greater good.
The military has instilled in me a strong work ethic and an infallible ethos. It has taught me to think independently while analyzing situations in search of a just result.
This mindset has served me well as a DOC employee. As civil servants, we are entrusted to do “the people’s work.” We are professional and honest brokers seeking to achieve the public good. Serving as a civil servant is not a right, but an honor. I have great joy in my job because of my colleagues and my agency’s mission. To me, the term civil servant means faithful service.
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce Military Veterans in honor of Veterans Day.