For Keyport award winner, it's about the kids

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport gives out truckloads of accolades to employees every year.

Private contractors working at the base frequently often are awarded for their work within a team, but for the first time in recent memory a contractor has been given an individual award.

John Hudson, a logistics specialist with BAE Systems, was the second awardee of the Don Lennon Award for Service to Others.

The award, named for a former Keyport chief steward, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding humanitarian contributions to the workplace or community, enhanced employee morale and demonstrated leadership. Winners are selected by the base’s awards panel.

Hudson was chosen for the award for his work mentoring students at North Kitsap High School, volunteering with the American Diabetes Association, coaching youth football and basketball, tutoring students at West Hills Elementary School and serving as a court-appointed special advocate for the state Juvenile Court.

“I recently read a letter a young man sent to him — one whom had been troubled thru school — and which John mentored,” wrote Valerie Lyons, who works with Hudson, in nominating him for the award. “This young man had graduated from high school and was on his way to college. It was a very moving letter, in which he gave John all the credit for his success.”

Lyons wrote that Hudson also promotes equal opportunity employment at Keyport and is involved with several other base-sponsored activities.

“It’s all because of my background,” Hudson said of his volunteer work. “I was raised by my mom that way back in Chicago. There was nobody to help me, so I vowed that when I got older that I would help kids.”

Due to a snafu, nobody told him to be at the Naval Undersea Museum auditorium Nov. 29 to receive his honor.

“It was a breakdown in communications,” said Hudson, who has worked at Keyport for 11 years. “Valerie Lyons told me that I didn’t get an award so I didn’t go.”

Hudson later received his award from Keyport commander Capt. Mary Townsend-Manning during a private ceremony.

“Being a contractor at Keyport is really a challenge,” Lyons said, adding that contractors are ineligible for cash rewards. “My boss said it was unlikely that any contractor could get an award.”

Lyons is the technical associate who oversees Hudson’s contract.

“Valerie sits right next to me and she knows how much work I do with the kids,” he said.

BAE Systems honored Hudson with its own monetary reward and a certificate lauding his achievements, according to Denny Scovern, the company’s director of operations.

“This is the first time I’ve known of (an individual contractor getting an award) and I’ve been here 25 years,” Scovern said. “John is well-recognized and well-respected not only by our company, but by Keyport as well.”

Hudson thanked his wife and daughter for allowing him to go out and help “other people’s kids.”

Hudson said he recently completed his bachelor’s degree and has served in the Naval Reserve at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station for 17 years.

“I think he’s an amazing person,” Lyons said. “So many of us want to do what he does but there never seems the time to do it. I don’t know how he finds the time to do it. He’s just remarkable.”

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