JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 19, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Jacksonville District unveiled a monument to honor and recognize the service of former Operations Section Chief James H. Hammond, Dec. 8 at the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston.
“Today we are here to celebrate Jim Hammond and memorialize his great service to the Nation and to the Corps. I can honestly say that not a day goes by that I don’t think about Jim,” said Jim Jeffords, chief of the USACE Operations Division in Jacksonville. “Being part of the family – and Jim was big on family - we wanted to have something that we could see to remind us of him. Now, every time we drive into work, we can see this memorial and think of Jim and what he was to us – a great leader, a mentor, supervisor, teacher, as well as a family man - a huband, a grandfather, a father.”
Jeffords thanked Hammonds’ wife Ana, his son James and his wife Loreal, and their four children for joining the Corps family for the unveiling ceremony. “This memorial is very special to us, from our family to your family,” said Jeffords.
“It’s great to see the family again. You’re right, there’s hardly a day that goes by when I don’t think of Jim. He’s one of those who really touched me. I want to be a go-to guy, and that’s what Jim was to me. He had the right answer or could get the right answer,” said Lt. Col. Michael Kinard, turning to Hammond’s family. “He was strong person that we all leaned on in our family, as I’m sure that you did in your family. This memorial really does go on and shows Jim’s dedication to the Corps.”
The granite monument was unveiled at the foot of a live oak tree planted in Hammond’s honor near the pavilion in the South Florida Operations Office complex in June 2011. Hammond served as the operations section chief from 2005 until he passed away at age 58 March 25, 2011.
Hammond joined the South Florida Operations Office as an electrician in 1997 and was promoted several times. He became a supervisory facilities maintenance specialist and supervised 48 employees responsible for the operations and maintenance of approximately $1 billion worth of infrastructure within the Central and Southern Florida region. Hammond served 32 years of federal service with the U.S. Army, Navy Air Warfare Center and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Jim was an invaluable coach and mentor to all employees,” said Steve Dunham, chief of the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. “He rose up through the ranks and never forgot his fellow employees. He was the supervisory heart and soul of our office and is dearly missed. He was a great friend and mentor to our employees.”
“Jim was our go-to guy, who knew everything about the Okeechobee Waterway, our locks and dams, water control structures and maintenance requirements,” said Jeffords. “Jim served our nation as a great veteran and civilian. He earned the Jacksonville District’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award in 2009 and Supervisor of the Year Award in 2010.”