Former Marine Sergeant Jason Simms was named the 2013 Dickies American Hero of the Year. Simms, now an HR specialist for the Department of the Navy (DON), has transferred his knowledge and experiences to provide assistance with wounded warriors who are transitioning to life as a civilian.
Simms survived a brutal and violent attack in Iraq in 2004. His injuries were extensive, both from taking on enemy fire and from his vehicle being hit by an improvised explosive device. Simms medically retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2008 and in the course of his recovery endured 20 different surgeries.
With an endless resolve, Simms looked at the challenge as an opportunity to overcome, fighting each day for his recovery and remembering the ultimate sacrifices of his fellow marines. Despite the pain he endures daily, Simms refuses to complain or harbor resentment; a trait his wife Alana Simms believes makes him a true hero.
Nominated by his wife for his courage and heroism, Simms now works with the DON's Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR) Philadelphia Operations Center as an HR specialist working with the DON's Wounded Warrior Program helping injured veterans like himself find employment after they return from service.
While Simms misses the Marine Corps deeply, he is now able to leverage his story and experiences in helping with the recovery of his military brothers and sisters.
Now in its second year as the American Hero of the Year Award, this program is made possible by the support of Dickies and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to help to pay homage to the U.S. military and their families. Dickies previously hosted the American Worker of the Year Contest until the program partnered with the Exchange last year to create the American Hero of the Year Contest. Dickies fans and Exchange customers were called on to nominate current or retired members of the United States military or family members of US military servicemen and women who portray the qualities they believe exemplifies an American Hero.
"With the countless sacrifices our service men and women make for our country, the Exchange is always honored to have the opportunity to give back to the military community," said Exchange COO Mike Howard. "Marine Sergeant Jason Simms has shown us that even after making those sacrifices himself, he fights every day to better the lives of his fellow military brothers and sisters at home."
Program entries were received from May 1, 2013 to June 17, 2013 at www.militaryhero.com, and a public vote was held for the most compelling submissions. Four runners-up will each receive $1,000.
OCHR provides the support for the policies, systems, program management and assessment for the DON’s entire civilian workforce. The DON is one of the largest and most complex organizations in the federal government, demanding a large depth and breadth of occupations. OCHR must ensure that the DON has the right workforce to meet its mission. Information on the DON OCHR is available at www.donhr.navy.mil.