First Recipient of Project Handclasp Awarded

July 26, 2013 | By scnewsltr
     Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Global Logistics Support (GLS) announced the recipient of its first Project Handclasp Humanitarian
VIRIN: 130726-N-ZZ219-1231
Service Award this past June.
     Lt. Cmdr. Eric Gardner, 3rd Naval Expeditionary Logistics Regiment, Fort Dix, N.J., was presented with the award at the National Convention of the Navy League of the United States in Long Beach, Calif.      The Project Handclasp Humanitarian Service Award was instituted to recognize an officer or enlisted member of the Sea Services who has done extraordinary service on behalf of peoples around the world in humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.      "It is bestowed on an officer or enlisted member who balances the best in his or her dedication to supporting the warfighter while devoting themselves to the very worthy and noble cause of Project Handclasp," explained Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen, commander, NAVSUP GLS.      In 2012, then-Lt. Gardner supervised humanitarian assistance projects in South and Central America and in Africa while serving as Supply officer of HSV2 Swift.      "Whether Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Congo, Lagos or Gabon, or other countries, he led his ship's efforts to make friends and help others in the Navy Handclasp tradition," said Rear Adm. Mark Heinrich, commander, NAVSUP and Chief of Supply Corps.  "His selflessness and hard work to assist others in maintaining humanitarian dignity is truly admirable."      Project Handclasp became an official Navy program in 1962.  It was established as a unique "people-to-people" (vice government-to-government) program, involving the direct distribution of humanitarian, educational, and goodwill materials to the citizens of host nations by Sailors and Marines on deployment.  Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief is now one of 10 primary missions of the U.S. Armed Forces.      Project Handclasp evolved from a goodwill activity into a unique mission program of record.  During Project Handclasp's 50th year as an official Navy program, it became part of NAVSUP's Fleet support efforts, and is a part of NAVSUP GPLS.  It is led by retired Cmdr. Paul Brown.      Prior to becoming a part of NAVSUP, retired Cmdr. Charlie Tevelson, whose dedication inspired many influential organizations and companies to participate, led the program for years.  In recognition of Project Handclasp's 50th year of service, and to honor Cmdr. Tevelson, the Project Handclasp Foundation originated the Project Handclasp Humanitarian Service Award in collaboration with the Chief of Naval Operations' Office of International Engagement, Project Handclasp, and the Navy League of the United States.  The award became Navy League's 22nd official Sea Service Award.      "It is fitting that this award honors my predecessor, Charlie Tevelson," said Paul Brown, Project Handclasp director.  "Mr. Tevelson served as Project Handclasp Director from 1972-2006.  He built Project Handclasp, from the most humble beginnings, over more than a third of a century.  I was pleased to convey the impact of his legacy when he retired after more than 50 years of government service." By NAVSUP GLS Corporate Communication Office