Black History Month Graphic

Black History Month

Story by: Editors

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of "Negro History Week," the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

***In honor of Black History Month, the PaYS Program will highlight some African American leaders and their achievements.

Austin sworn in as Nation's first Black Pentagon ChiefRetired Gen. Lloyd Austin

Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin was sworn in as secretary of Defense on Friday, becoming the first Black head of the Pentagon in U.S. history.

"I am honored to have this chance to serve again and to do so alongside you and your families," Austin said in a statement to the force after he was sworn in by Tom Muir, acting director of Washington Headquarters Services.

"It's an honor and a privilege to serve as our country's 28th Secretary of Defense, and I'm especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position," Austin tweeted after he was confirmed. "Let's get to work."

Austin had overcome the hurdle of getting Congress to approve a waiver allowing him to bypass a law barring recently retired generals from leading the Pentagon.

The 1947 law is meant to ensure civilian control of the Military by requiring that Defense Secretaries be out of uniform for at least seven years.

Though Austin retired from the Military in 2016, lawmakers fast-tracked the waiver on Thursday. Both chambers of Congress approved it within hours of each other, citing a confluence of crises including the COVID-19 pandemic.


Antonio Johnson, PaYS Program Manager

Dear PaYS Partners,

Please join me in welcoming our newest PaYS Partner and a special thanks to the battalion's leadership and A&PA for their support.

Orange County, Florida - Tampa Recruiting Battalion

Regional Army PaYS Marketing Analysts:

Northeast Region
Contact the PaYS Helpdesk for assistance

Samuel Armstrong (Southeast Region)
(301) 717-8508

Davin Bentley (Midwest Region)
(614) 886-0270

Midwest Region
Contact the PaYS Helpdesk for assistance

Crancena Ross (Southwest Region)
(410) 206-0413

Southwest Region
Contact the PaYS Helpdesk for assistance

Corin Gillens (West Coast Region)
(843) 909-6037

The PaYS Program is currently experiencing growth and change. As the Program Manager, I can assure all of our partners that the team is prepared for the new challenges and responsibilities that face our team as we grow. Thank you for your continued support as we strive to develop a more productive and efficient program to support our Soldiers". - Antonio


PaYS Recognizes Black-Owned Partners - Aldevra, LLC. and Solution One Industries, Inc.SOI logo Aldevra logo

Story by: Davin Bentley and Alisha Reneau

Rodney Marshall, President, and CEO of PaYS partner Aldevra, LLC.
Rodney Marshall
Rodney Marshall is a driving force in his community and the PaYS team is very proud to be a part of his legacy of service to country.

Mr. Marshall graduated from Lansing Eastern High School (MI) in 1989 and joined the United States Marine Corps where he proudly served as an Infantryman and Squad Leader in the Gulf War under Task Force Ripper. Marshall was awarded the Rifle Expert Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 stars, Kuwait Liberation Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Rodney Marshall Mr. Marshall held various jobs after his Military service and also graduated from Western Michigan University with a bachelor's degree. In 2009, he formed Aldevra, LLC and found his calling as a business owner primarily focused on government contracting.

Aldevra, LLC started by providing foodservice equipment to the Military and has since expanded to healthcare and staffing with its primary customers being Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Army. Aldevra, LLC has made the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Privately-Owned U.S. Companies for the last two years and has been recognized as a top-performing Veteran-owned company.

In May 2020, Aldevra, LLC was named winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2020 Region 5 Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year award. Each year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week (NSBW). NSBW recognizes outstanding small business owners for their successes and contributions to our nation. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and Aldevra's achievements were cited as the reason for the awards. In addition to this prestigious award, Aldevra, LLC has received the following accolades and designations:

---Certified as a "Great Place to Work®"
---CVE Verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
---Certified Minority-Owned Enterprise
---8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business
---Certified historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone) firm

The PaYS team is very proud of the strength that the diversity of our partners provides. In addition to providing quality employment opportunities for our Soldiers, Mr. Marshall serves as an example for young Soldiers to emulate.

Tyrone McLaurin, President, Co-Founder, and Chief Operating Officer, Solution One Industries, Inc. (SOI)
Tyrone McLaurin

As President of SOI, Mr. McLauren has oversight responsibility for company operational business units (logistics, engineering and professional services), corporate and strategic planning, business development, quality, safety, contracts, procurement, and expanding the company capabilities and customer base. He leads continual improvement efforts that drive efficiency, foster continued growth, execution of cost-competitive solutions, and exceptional business services. From left to right:  Tyronne McLaren, Crancena Ross, Shirley Fleming and Antonio Johnson pose for a photo during SOI/PaYS ceremony in Killeen, TX

On November 12, 2020, Mr. McLauren and SOI hosted a PaYS Ceremony at their headquarters in Killen, TX in conjunction with the Dallas Recruiting Battalion. During his remarks, Mr. McLauren stated, "Partnering with the Army PaYS Program gives us the opportunity to give back to all Soldiers, especially those in the Fort Hood, TX area". SOI believes in investing in their employees and future workforce in order to give their customers the best possible service. They're a premier national support services company, with strong beliefs in supporting Veterans.

Right - From left to right: Tyronne McLaren, Crancena Ross, Shirley Fleming and Antonio Johnson pose for a photo during SOI/PaYS ceremony in Killeen, TX

CASA logo

PaYS Highlights African American Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASA)

Story by: Alisha Reneau

Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASAs) are appointed to advise and support Army Leaders across the Nation. A CASA's keen sense of business acumen and leadership in their communities make them essential partners for PaYS as well as other Army organizations and programs. In honor of African American History Month, PaYS would like to recognize some of the CASAs who support the U.S. Army.

Allie Braswell Allie Braswell as a U.S. Marine

Mr. Allie Braswell is the Program Director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Mayo Clinic - Florida and responsible for the Mayo Clinic Florida's recognition by patients, employees, peer institutions, and the community as the leading model for diversity and inclusion. He is also the Founder and Managing Director of Braswell Management Group, LLC, which focuses on partnering with organizations to develop and implement meaningful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategies that engage their local, national and global stakeholders.

Prior to being selected as a CASA for Central Florida in 2016, Mr. Braswell served more than 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps in various roles, culminating as a Signals Intelligence Analyst, Cryptologic Linguist (Bahasa Indonesia), and Cryptanalyst in support of national operations while assigned to the National Security Agency.

"My positon allows me to help the Army opens doors for future Soldiers from all backgrounds, and to leverage relationships with corporate partners for initiatives like the Army PaYS program, and other Veteran Programs throughout the Central Florida region, and the state of Florida."

Augustus L. Collins

Mr. Augustus L. Collins was appointed as a CASA in Mississippi in December 2019. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of MINACT, Inc., a job training, development and management company located in Jackson, Mississippi.

Mr. Collins served as a traditional guardsman in the Mississippi National Guard from 1977 until 1987. In 1987 he entered the Active-Guard Reserve Program and served until 2004 when he was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He commanded the 155th Armored Brigade (Separate) from 2004 until 2006 and deployed the brigade to the Iraqi Theater of Operation. In 2006 he was reassigned as the Director of Mobilization Forces, U.S. Army Forces Command until his retirement in October 2007. In January 2012 the Governor of Mississippi asked him to return from retirement to become the Adjutant General for the Mississippi National Guard. He served in that capacity until his retirement as a Major General in August 2016.

Landy D. Dunham

Mr. Landy D. Dunham is the Senior Director of Training and Quality Assurance at AllianceRx Walgreens Prime in Orlando, Florida. He was appointed as CASA in Central Florida in October 2019.

Mr. Dunham enlisted in the Army in 1988 and attended the U.S. Military Academy Prep School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He graduated from West Point in 1993 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Aviation Branch. Mr. Dunham led Aviation Soldiers throughout his career; serving as an Aviation Battalion Operations Officer in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and as an Aviation Battalion TF Commander in the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Mr. Dunham served in a multitude of assignments throughout his Military career. Notably, he was the U.S. Army Garrison Commander at West Point, New York and his final military assignment was as the Chief of the Joint Operational War Plans Division on the Joint Staff, J5 in the Pentagon. Mr. Dunham retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 at the rank of Colonel.

Pike logo

Army PaYS Welcomes Pike Corporation as a New PaYS Partner

Story by: Samuel Armstrong

On 21 January 2021, Pike Corporation and the Raleigh Army Recruiting Battalion solidified their partnership in the Army Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program. Pike Corporation is the 937th PaYS partner to join the Army PaYS program.
Left to Right: James Simpson, Manager of Talent Acquisition and Veteran Affairs, James Banner, Senior VP of Administration, Mitchell Hardy, Director of Employee Relations, LTC Kensandra Mack, Commanding Officer Raleigh Recruiting Battalion, CSM Thomas Putnam, Command Sergeant Major, Raleigh Recruiting Battalion
Pike Corporation was founded in 1945, Pike Corporation is a leading provider of construction, repair, and engineering services for distribution and transmission power lines fiber telecommunications, and gas substations, with a growing portfolio of turnkey and renewable projects. Pike Corporation is headquartered out of Mt. Airy, NC but provides services throughout the U.S.

During the signing ceremony, representatives from the U.S. Army featured CPT Joel Barba, Commander, Winston Salem Recruiting Company, and LTC Kensandra Mack, Raleigh Recruiting Battalion Commander, and Mr. James Banner, Senior VP of Administration of Pike Corporation, signed the ceremonial signing certificate, confirming Pike Corporation as an official Army PaYS Partner.

Also in attendance was Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Mabry Martin, who provided remarks as the guest speaker.

Above - Left to Right: James Simpson, Manager of Talent Acquisition and Veteran Affairs, James Banner, Senior VP of Administration, Mitchell Hardy, Director of Employee Relations, LTC Kensandra Mack, Commanding Officer Raleigh Recruiting Battalion, CSM Thomas Putnam, Command Sergeant Major, Raleigh Recruiting Battalion

James Banner stated, "Pike is extremely excited to partner with the Army PaYS Program and looks forward to continuing our focus on hiring former military as they transition to the civilian sector."

Colorado National Guard members to provide support to 59th Presidential Inauguration Colorado National Guard logo

Story by: Colorado National Guard Public Affairs

Colorado National Guard standing in front of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
By order of Gov. Jared Polis, at least 230 members of the Colorado Army and Air National Guard will support a request from the District of Columbia and federal civilian authorities for National Guard support to the 59th Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2021. The U.S. Secret Service is the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, and implementing security for presidential inaugurations.

Historically, the CONG, along with the other 53 states and territories, send support to the District of Columbia National Guard for the inauguration to provide security for the peaceful transition of political power, which our nation has enjoyed since President George Washington handed the office over to the leadership of President John Adams March 4, 1797.

"The Colorado National Guard has a proud tradition of supporting the presidential inauguration," The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan said. "Our Soldiers and Airmen stand ready to assist, as requested, should an incident occur."

The CONG members will be part of a larger task force augmenting district and federal agencies with a range of support, including security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety. In 2017, more than 7,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen served with the specially created joint task force. More than 25,000 NG members will support this year's National Special Security Event.

National Guard members will be postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities.

National Guard members continue to adhere to CDC safety guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. The CONG's support to our local, state, and federal partners during the pandemic continues uninterrupted.

National Guard support to presidential inaugurations dates to April 30, 1789, when local militia members (today's National Guard) joined the U.S. Army and revolutionary war veterans to form an honor detail and escort President Washington to his inauguration ceremony in New York City from Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Over the years, National Guard involvement has grown and is designated to honor the commander-in-chief, recognize civilian control of the Military, and celebrate democracy.

PaYS Welcomes Christy DeLauter and Jim Meade to the Team

Story by: Alisha Reneau

Christy DeLauter

Christy DeLauter assumes responsibility as the PaYS Regional Marketer for U.S. Army 6th Recruiting Brigade. Christy is a retired Army Veteran with over 26 years of service with the Army National Guard. She served as a Retirement Services and Transition Specialist as well as a variety of human resource and policy development positions at the state and national level.

After retiring in 2015, Christy and her husband, David relocated from Alexandria, Virginia to Las Vegas, Nevada to enjoy the wonderful weather and explore the western half of the United States. Together they share five children and five beautiful grandchildren. In her free time, Christy enjoys hiking and exploring the many recreational opportunities in the area, knitting, and reading. She is excited to begin a new journey in providing support to our Military members and is looking forward to working with the PaYS Team.

Jim Meade

Jim Meade is the new PaYS Regional Marketer for U.S Army 5th Recruiting Brigade. Jim is from Columbus, Ohio and he enlisted in the Army in 1989 as a Combat Medic. He would later become an LPN in the U.S. Army Reserve and then be called back to active duty in an Active Guard Reserve status in 2001; where he would remain for the rest of his career. Jim has been deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In May 2020, he retired as a Sergeant Major and was awarded the Legion of Merit at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Jim's civilian education and accolades include the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Leadership from Park University (Magna Cum Laude), and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Columbia Southern University.

Jim is married and has two children.

PaYS Says Farewell to Anthony Velasco and Donna Morales

Story by: Alisha Reneau

Anthony Velasco and Donna Morales

The PaYS team would like to thank Anthony Velasco and Donna Morales for their dedication and professionalism while serving with distinction as Regional Marketing Analysts.

Anthony started with the PaYS Team in September 2019. Responsible for the Southwest Region, Anthony developed partnerships with several companies including TTEC, Waste Connections of Colorado and R.K. Mechanical, Inc.

Donna has been with the PaYS Team since June 2018. As the Regional Marketer in the Midwest, Donna created PaYS partnerships with Hubbard Broadcasting, Titan Machinery, Inc. and Motorola Solutions, Inc., to name a few.

Anthony and Donna's contributions and dedication to the Army PaYS Program are greatly appreciated and the entire PaYS Team wishes them all the best in their future endeavors.

A Big Thank You to these Partners Celebrating their February PaYS Anniversaries:

Deere & Company 16-Feb-01, NFI Industries 23-Feb-04, Pierce County Sheriff's Office 23-Feb-04, Shell Oil Company 24-Feb-04, Tallahassee Police Dept. 4-Feb-05, RDO Equipment Co. 17-Feb-05, Texas Instruments 25-Feb-05, Sacramento County Sheriff's Dept. 7-Feb-06, Orange County Sheriff's Office 7-Feb-06, Quad/Graphics, Inc. 7-Feb-06, Hawaii State Government 13-Feb-06, Las Vegas Metro Police Department 13-Feb-06, Sears Holdings Corporation 16-Feb-06, G4S Secure Solutions (formerly The Wackenhut Corporation) 21-Feb-06, Quest Diagnostics 5-Feb-07, Nationwide Truck Brokers, Inc. 5-Feb-07, OMNI Energy Services Corporation 5-Feb-07, Brock Group 13-Feb-08, City of Columbus, Department of Public Safety 19-Feb-08, Mississippi Dept. of Corrections 19-Feb-08, Albuquerque PD 23-Feb-08, Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice 17-Feb-09, Baton Rouge General Medical Center 23-Feb-09, Orion South, Inc. 23-Feb-09, U-haul International, Inc. 28-Feb-09, East Texas Medical Center 28-Feb-09, AT&T, Inc. "previously BellSouth" 9-Feb-10, Haas Automation, Inc. 1-Feb-11, Don Schumacher Racing Corp. 1-Feb-11, Schumacher Electric Corp. 1-Feb-11, GSE Lining Technology, LLC 1-Feb-11, Minnesota Wire & Cable Company 24-Feb-11, Frank C. Alegre Trucking, Inc. 12-Feb-14, URRA CO., Inc. dba Flynns Tire Group 19-Feb-14, City of Cape Girardeau 19-Feb-14, Rivera Consulting Group, Inc. 19-Feb-14, AM Waters 8-Feb-16, The City of Orangeburg 10-Feb-16, The Geo Groups, Inc. 10-Feb-16, St Joseph Regional Medical Center 11-Feb-16, Ocala Police Department 11-Feb-16, Horizon Health Care, Inc. 17-Feb-16, Brad Cole Construction 23-Feb-16, Dental Associates 26-Feb-16, System Scale Corporation 26-Feb-16, Indue Sales & Services, Inc. 10-Feb-17, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office 2-Feb-18, First Coast Security Services, Inc. 2-Feb-18, Novation Enterprise 2-Feb-18, Pennington County Sheriff's Office 2-Feb-18, West Florida Medical Center 2-Feb-18, GAT Airlines Ground Support 2-Feb-18, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic Authority 2-Feb-18, Cortina Solutions 5-Feb-18, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation 5-Feb-18, Pharmaceutical Products Deveploment 5-Feb-18, RMI 5-Feb-18, South Carolina DMV 16-Feb-18, Cincinnati Fire Department 16-Feb-18, Centerstone 16-Feb-18, Regional Health 16-Feb-18, Tempus, Inc. 15-Feb-19, ShipEx, LLC 15-Feb-19, The Meruelo Media 15-Feb-19, Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office 27-Feb-19, Mayvin, Inc. 10-Feb-20, Park National Bank 10-Feb-20, TWC Service 10-Feb-20, Bonnell Industries, Inc. 10-Feb-20, T-Rex Solution 13-Feb-20, Heartland RV 13-Feb-20, Elior North America 14-Feb-20, Charter Senior Living 14-Feb-20, Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway, Co. 20-Feb-20, John C Fremont Healthcare District 20-Feb-20, College of Biomedical Equip. Tech. 20-Feb-20, B & J Trucking Service, Inc. 20-Feb-20



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