News

Dr. Don Meyer Awarded Commander's Coin and Patriot Award

by Valley Forge Christian College | February 01, 2012
It isn't everyday that you are allowed to lie to the college president. But Sgt. Brian Swomley, Information Technology Director at Valley Forge Christian College (VFCC), did just that to help stage a surprise President Don Meyer didn't see coming.

It isn't everyday that you are allowed to lie to the college president. But Sgt. Brian Swomley, Information Technology Director at Valley Forge Christian College (VFCC), did just that to help stage a surprise President Don Meyer didn't see coming. You see, Sgt. Swomley, a National Guardsman of the 131st Transportation Company, just returned home from Afghanistan in December and he was so honored by the support Dr. Meyer provided to him while he was away that he nominated Dr. Meyer for a Commander's Coin and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award.

To Sgt. Swomley's delight, both nominations for Dr. Meyer were approved. Swomley told Dr. Meyer that the ESGR and his Commander wanted to come to campus to present him [Swomley] with these awards. He asked Dr. Meyer if it would be okay to present these awards during the daily chapel service. Dr. Meyer was obliged to help orchestrate this event, thinking Swomley was the one in the spotlight. 

On January 31, 2012, Albert Newman, South East Area Chair of the ESGR and Cpt. Dana Howett, Commander of the 131st Transportation Company arrived at VFCC's Flower Chapel. Dr. Meyer welcomed the crowded audience and explained that Sgt. Swomley was about to be honored with two awards. Sgt. Swomley came to the stage, took the microphone and shocked Dr. Meyer with the news that these awards were not in fact for him, but for Dr. Meyer. 

Dr. Meyer was honored to receive both awards. The Patriot award recognizes a boss for his support of National Guard and Reserve members and the Commander's coin honors those who go above and beyond. 

"It is obvious that Dr. Meyer has exemplified excellence," Cpt. Howett stated. "I heard a lot about him and saw first hand how he supported us while we were in Afghanistan. Whenever he sent a package we would all huddle around. It was clear that Brian loved his job back home and his employer loved him. There was no question in my mind that Dr. Meyer deserved this award, but I also knew that Sgt. Swomley deserved this honor also." Cpt. Howett presented both Sgt. Swomley and Dr. Meyer with a Commander's coin. 

Sgt. Swomley and Dr. Meyer now have a significant token that will remind them of how they were both surprised with honor for their support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

Click here to view photos of the award ceremony.