LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District inducted two former employees into its Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees in a ceremony May 15 at the District headquarters. The two retirees had a combined total of 96 years of federal service, all with the Los Angeles District.
Patsy Delgado, who retired in 2017 as the executive assistant to the District commander, was recognized for providing outstanding advice, counsel, selfless dedication and innovative problem solving to leadership over a 44-year career.
In her remarks, Delgado, who began her career as a clerk typist, told the audience she never imagined she would receive such an honor. She called it the "icing on the cake," acknowledging a long and rewarding career.
"I loved the job that I did with the Corps but, most importantly, the people that I worked with over the years," Delgado said. "There are so many people who have had an impact on my career, and, more importantly, my life."
She highlighted three leaders who mentored her: Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, who "inspired me to always strive to do my best in everything I did"; Brig. Gen. Larry Davis, who "showed me, by example, the importance of work-life balance"; and Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, who "taught me that people were the foundation of everything we do. If we take care of people, all things will fall into place."
"I strived to put into action what I learned from these great leaders, and I hope I succeeded in making them proud of my contributions to the Corps," Delgado said.
Jeanne Imamura, an executive secretary who retired after 52 years of service in 2017, was the second inductee. Imamura was recognized as the cornerstone of district and executive office operations, who served 15 District commanders and impacted hundreds of leaders during her tenure.
Imamura said she was in a state of shock when told she was selected for the honor and couldn't justify in her mind how she could be included in the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees.
"I thought long and hard, 'what did I do, besides doing my job and accumulating all these years,'" Imamura said. "So it dawned on me; you can't sneeze at 52 years of federal service. I think that's an accomplishment."
She acknowledged the many former commanders and colleagues alike who had an impact on her and said she shared the award with past district commander's secretaries who showed her how a professional secretary should work and how you can have fun while working in the executive office.
"Lastly, I thank Patsy Delgado, my battle buddy, my problem solver and my good friend," Imamura said. "Thank you for your great support. I couldn't have survived the last decade without you."
Large posters with the photos of Delgado and Imamura were ceremonially unveiled during the event. Their names will be inscribed on a perpetual plaque that has been displayed at the District headquarters in Los Angeles since the inception of the award in 1983.
The induction was in conjunction with the District's annual Retiree Recognition Day. More than three dozen retirees participated in the day's activities, which included a breakfast social with current employees, a commander's update presentation and a catered lunch.
Col. Kirk Gibbs, Los Angeles District commander, closed the event with a few words marking the last time he would speak to the retirees. He will relinquish command this summer.
"I want you all to know this is one of my favorite events of the year," Gibbs said. "I didn't know what it was the first year of my command; I was nervous to meet you all and to stand in front of you and talk to you. Now, I just feel like you're family."