NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 5, 2017) – Tony Bernard, maintenance mechanic at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s Lake Cumberland in Somerset, Ky., is the employee of the month for November 2016.
Bernard is being recognized for his initiative and ingenuity that resulted in a partnership with the Russell County Vocational School to build a new fee collection booth and 15 picnic tables for Kendall Campground below Wolf Creek Dam at Lake Cumberland.
“This partnering opportunity not only helps build solid relationships with the community we serve, but it also produces tangible benefits for the students whose skills are developed as they execute these projects,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, Nashville District commander.
Bernard, who maintains Corps’ campgrounds and recreation areas around Lake Cumberland, said the students definitely benefit with hands-on experience on practical construction projects. They are currently working on the booth, which includes electrical outlets, and they will get started afterward on the picnic tables, he added.
Larry Huckaby, vocation instructor, said he teaches residential and commercial construction to about 15 high school students, and so when Bernard approached him about partnering on this project, he knew it would be a great opportunity for learning.
At Russel County Vocational School, students are working on this project and learning about building a foundation, framing, exterior finish, interior finish, roofing… the “whole gamut,” Huckaby explained.
“The electricity program will be coming in and doing the wiring, and then we’ll start the insulation, dry wall finish, and will be a complete project to be hauled on site,” Huckaby said.
Huckaby stressed that the partnership between the Corps and vocational school allows students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom, study the blueprints, and then see the whole project come to life. Weather permitting, he said the building project should be complete in the next few weeks.
Michael Boles, Lake Cumberland resource manager, said Bernard manages a heavy work load and routinely demonstrates excellent responsiveness and efficiency in repairing and improving recreational facilities.
“He is self-motivated, resourceful and routinely applies ingenuity in solving difficult tasks. Tony is highly respected among peers for his courtesy and support, and is always a boost to team morale,” Boles said.
Boles added that Bernard is well known and highly thought of by many in the local communities surrounding Lake Cumberland.
“Through his strong connections and relations with the community, he was able to bring his idea for this mutually beneficial partnership to fruition,” Boles said.
Bernard said the local community often volunteers around the lake with various projects such as trail maintenance, so he naturally thought of partnering with Russell County Vocational School for obvious reasons.
“This is a great experience for all the young boys and girls,” Bernard said.
As for being selected employee of the month, Bernard said it’s a good feeling that people noticed his efforts and accomplishments.
In his off time, Bernard said he enjoys spending time with his wife Rachel and son Elijah, and boating on Lake Cumberland. He worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior before joining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His past Corps assignments include Fish Trap Lake Dam in Pikeville, Ky., and Dale Hollow Lake in Celina, Tenn.
He said he loves his job and likes making improvements around the lake project so taxpayers can see their dollars working for them.
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