WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Ray Bourgeois, Office of General Counsel, Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), was honored at the 37th Annual Disability Awards, receiving a Secretary of Defense award for Outstanding DoD Service Members and Civilian Employees with Disabilities at the Pentagon auditorium, Oct. 5.
"We in the Department of Defense acknowledge the inherent dignity of every human life. This dignity is bound by nothing beyond the simple fact of our common humanity. It belongs to us all," stated Secretary of Defense James Mattis in a message read aloud at the ceremony. "Every day in our Department, we observe people with disabilities modeling this universal dignity."
Bourgeois suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury on Feb. 17, 2013 while snow tubing at a Pennsylvania resort leaving him quadriplegic with limited use of his hands, arms and legs.
"I've received tremendous encouragement and support from my office colleagues and supervisors, leadership and members of the Office of General Counsel and NAVFAC personnel to return to work in my specialized area of practice, which I enjoy tremendously," said Bourgeois. "Each day brings new and interesting challenges to support the missions of NAVFAC, Commander, Navy Installations Command and the War Fighter. I am as determined today to add value to NAVFAC's land use work products as I did for 15 years before my injury."
A retired lieutenant colonel who served for 23 years on active and reserve duty in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, Bourgeois is the preeminent real estate and land use attorney in the Department of the Navy.
"I feel truly humbled and honored to receive the DOD Award for 2017. I have not let my physical disabilities define or limit my contributions to the Office of General Counsel and NAVFAC's Asset Management communities," said Bourgeois. "I take pride in my work and enjoy the day-to-day challenges it provides along with opportunities to excel each day."
Bourgeois has served in NAVFAC's Office of General Counsel for more than 18 years. His work has been essential in resolving complex issues that allowed NAVFAC to effectively execute its mission for the Department of the Navy, such as developing a strategy and providing critical advice for the largest land acquisition in DoD history.
"Congratulations on receipt of this award," said Rear Adm. Bret J. Muilenburg, commander, NAVFAC, and chief of civil engineers. "I'm very pleased to see your extraordinary efforts in support of NAVFAC, our Navy and Marine Corps, and our Nation recognized by the Department of the Navy. Thank you for continuing to share your expertise with us."
Mr. Bourgeois continues to mentor and provide professional development to Department of the Navy attorneys new to federal real estate law. His accomplishments reflect the tremendous spirit and dedication with which he lives his life and serves his country.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month has paid tribute to the accomplishments of men and women with disabilities since 1945, with this year marking its 72nd anniversary. Since 1981, the disability awards have honored employees who support the DoD mission, overseas contingency operations and whose attributes best epitomize the qualities and core values of their respective military services.
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