At the Oneonta Police Department’s Christmas party on Dec. 13, attendees witnessed Chief Charles Clifton’s surprise Patriotic Employer award issued by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Retired Master Gunnery Sgt. David Holladay presented Clifton with a plaque. Officer James Stephens, who is currently deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, nominated Clifton.
Stephens nominated the chief because he feels Clifton represents the excellence that employees of the Oneonta Police Department strive toward. He said, “I wanted my coworkers to recognize that I am cognizant of the fact that they have had to endure the inconvenience of my mobilization to Cuba, and that I miss them. They are my work family, and I am very much ready to return to the Oneonta Police Department, so I can do what I enjoy.”
Nominees for this award reflect efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leave of absence if needed.
Clifton said, “I am honored and humbled to receive this award by a true hero – an American soldier who is the first protector of our freedoms. James Arthur Stephens is everything young men should aspire to be in this country. I am grateful to have him representing the Oneonta Police Department both here and abroad.”