Retirement ceremony honors four civilians

Four civilians were recognized for their service to the nation during the Installation Retirement Ceremony at the Ball Conference Center July 27.

Douglas Bryce, Joint Program Executive Officer, Chemical and Biological Defense, JPEO-CBD, who presided over the ceremony and presented awards, was assisted by Master Sgt. Adam Jaffe, JPEO-CBD senior enlisted advisor. The honorees included Donna Zeimer, of the Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, PEO C3T; Gerald Sweet, of the Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground, ACC-APG; Celestine Beckett and Cynthia Scott, both with the U.S. Army Garrison APG.

Bryce said he was “very honored” to farewell the retirees whose combined total service totaled more than 120 years.

“Thank you for all your years of service and dedication to Soldiers,” he said.

Cynthia Scott

Cynthia Scott was awarded the Department of the Army certificates of appreciation and retirement signed by Col. James Davis, former APG Garrison Commander.

Scott hails from Muskegon, Michigan. In 1975 she began her military service as a member of the Women’s Army Corps at Fort McClellan, Alabama. In 1976 she was reassigned to the regular U.S. Army. During her military service, she served as a behavioral health specialist, a family advocacy program specialist and an equal opportunity noncommissioned officer in charge until her honorable discharge in 1984.

Scott took her oath as a DA civilian in 1985, in Germersheim, Germany. In 1989, she joined the APG Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, as the installation’s first biochemical testing coordinator and training specialist. While at APG, she served on the Army Center for Substance Abuse Program Task Force, developed the first biochemical testing coordinators and unit prevention leader handbooks and certification courses and activated DA civilian drug testing at APG.

In 2004, she was selected as the ASAP prevention coordinator and was tasked with providing substance abuse education and awareness to the APG community. During her tenure, she trained thousands of Soldiers, civilians and family members. She also stood up the APG Prescription Drug Take Back Program, which collected and ensured the safe disposal of expired or unneeded prescription and over-the-counter medicines and provided learning opportunities regarding substance abuse and opioid addiction in the APG community. Scott retired May 31, with more than 41 years of service. She said she looks forward to traveling and spending more time with her family, including her spouse, retired Master Sgt. Thomas Scott, who she met while serving in the Army.

“It’s been a blessing,” she said of her career. “I had some very challenging, but very rewarding opportunities.”

Donna Zeimer

Donna Zeimer received the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service signed by Col. Gregory Coile, Project Manager for Warfighter Information Network-Tactical and the Department of the Army certificates of appreciation and retirement signed by Gary Martin, Program Executive Officer for Command Control Communications-Tactical. Zeimer was born in Norfolk, Virginia and was raised in Stoutsville Ohio. She joined the Army in 1977, and served until 1983. In 1985, she began her civilian career as a supply technician at the Director of Logistics, Property Control Branch, at Vint Hill Farms Station in Warrington, Virginia. When the installation deactivated under base realignment and closure she was transferred to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey in 1997. In 2007, she graduated from Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, New Jersey, with an associate degree in business management.

Zeimer culminates her federal career as a logistics management specialist for PEO C3T PM WIN-T. She has received numerous performance awards which coincide with years of exceptional performance ratings. She retired July 31 with 38 years of dedicated service.

Zeimer said she plans to volunteer with Greystone Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation in Rising Sun, Maryland. She also plans to spend more time with her family including her spouse, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Fox.

“It feels amazing,” she said of her retirement “In 1977, when I joined the Army, I didn’t think about the endpoint. It’s a great feeling.”

Celestine Beckett

Celestine “Celli” Beckett was awarded Department of the Army certificates of appreciation and retirement signed by Col. James Davis, former APG Garrison Commander.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Beckett holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was employed as a social worker for the state of North Carolina from 1975 to 1984 and later earned master degrees in Divinity and Social Work in a dual-degree program with Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University School of Social Work in New York.

In 1991, Beckett began her career in the federal government as a family advocacy specialist at the Philadelphia Naval Base Family Service Center. Due to base realignment and closure of the Philadelphia Naval Base in 1995, she was transferred to the APG Army Community Service as the Family Advocacy Program manager.

In 1997, she was selected to represent the DA as a member of the U.S. Delegation to South Africa for the Prevention of Child Abuse, which she described as an “experience of a lifetime.” From 2002 to 2012, Beckett served as the APG ACS director ensuring all of the core services and programs were carried out in accordance with governing guidelines and the highest professional standards of service.

In 2012, Beckett joined the Garrison Directorate of Human Resources to manage the Leader and Workforce Development, or LWFD, Program. As the subject matter expert, she served as staff advisor to the director as well as to key Garrison leaders on all matters relating to civilian workforce management. She led the LWFD Process Action Team to coordinate and implement annual Garrison professional training symposiums providing the workforce with information and resources regarding leader development, mentorship and career management. She also frequently served as narrator for garrison and installation events. Beckett retired April 30, with 26 years of service

Beckett plans to care for her mother, and continue her ministry with the Church of God in Christ, in Philadelphia. She expressed gratitude to her family, friends, coworkers and the APG community.

“I enjoyed helping the people,” she said. “Hopefully I helped someone and [I] have touched lives, as so many of the people here have touched mine.

Gerald Sweet

Gerald Sweet received the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service signed by Kenyata Wesley Sr., executive director of ACC-APG. He also received Department of the Army certificates of appreciation and retirement, also signed by Wesley.

Originally from Bridgeton, New Jersey, Sweet graduated from Rowan University, in Glassboro New Jersey in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, specializing in management information systems with an additional concentration in geographical information systems and cartography. In 2008, he earned a master’s degree in Contracting from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

In 2001, he was offered a position in contracting at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where he specialized in research and development contracting. During his career he attained Level 3 contracting certification and cross trained to Level 2 in information technology and program management. In 2008, he was nominated for the Secretary of the Army Award for Outstanding Contracting Officer Specialized Services and Construction. He culminates his career as a procurement analyst/contract specialist with the ACC-APG. He retired June 30, with 15 years of dedicated service.

During his remarks to the audience, Sweet thanked his family, coworkers and spouse Joan. He said he plans to stay busy and physically active.

“So, now it’s time for retirement [and] I am going to do some [bicycle] riding, some hiking, paddling, skiing, all those things I used to do just on weekends,” he said.


Story by Rachel Ponder, APG News