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Making a lasting impression

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Friends, family and Team McConnell members gathered for the retirement ceremony of Lt. Col. Laurie A. DeGarmo Jan. 6 at The Dole Center Ballroom. 

Col. Michelle Johnson, Director of Public Affairs and Deputy Director of Communications, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, presided over the ceremony.
As she reflected on the Hicksville, N.Y., native’s career, Colonel Johnson highlighted Colonel DeGarmo’s career accomplishments and commented on the “extraordinary balance” of life and growth that the former 22nd ARW director of staff excelled in.
As chief of wing plans and programs, Colonel DeGarmo led her team to victory with an “Outstanding” rating during the 2003 Air Mobility Command Operations Plan 8044 Operational Readiness Inspection. 

After setting the bar high for all preceding inspections, the Emery-Riddle University Graduate became the 22nd ARW director of staff where she was responsible for wing agencies to include public affairs, chapel, comptroller, safety, treaty and compliance, inspector general, military equal opportunity, historian, command post and judge advocate. 

Although each wing agencies differ from each other like night and day, her ability to form a hard-working team did not go unnoticed. 

“She always has everyone’s best interest at heart,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Dowell, 22nd ARW director of staff superintendent. “With her tireless effort and continuous interest in each agency, she raised the level of excellence within the organization and melded us together to become an unstoppable team.” 

The unthinkable was accomplished by the wing agencies when they won the Spirit award during the third quarter 22nd ARW quarterly awards banquet. The small but spirited group proved themselves that day by beating out the 22nd Medical Group and the 22nd Mission Support Group who more than tripled them in size.
“Now that says it all,” added Chief Dowell. 

Col. Cathy Clothier, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, also praised the impressive career of the Emery Riddle graduate and presented her a shadow box containing a flag that was not only flown over Iraq, but also at Colonel DeGarmo first assignment, Nellis AFB, Nevada and her final assignment here at McConnell. 

“She touch the lives and careers of many Airmen and set the example for others to follow,” said Col. Clothier. “Her hard work and dedication has left a lasting mark with all of us here at McConnell, and we thank her for her 23 years of service.” 

Among the many thanks Colonel DeGarmo gave that afternoon, she praised the leadership she has worked for here at McConnell referring to Colonel Clothier and Colonel Johnson as “the strongest female role models she has had in 23 years.”
Along with recognizing those she served with, Colonel DeGarmo saved a special thank you for her husband and two children who she said has taught her the importance of balancing her family and her career. 

“As I leave here, I leave with the memories of people and missions that will always bring a smile to my face knowing that we together have made a difference,” said Colonel DeGarmo. “This assignment was a gift in more ways than one, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It has been my pleasure to serve with you -- Thank you.”