• November 23, 2014

Public affairs officers garner national awards

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Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:30 am

Sgt. Ken Scar was touched by the resiliency of 2009 Fort Hood shooting victim Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler when he first saw him in 2010 at an Article 32 hearing.

“I was in the courtroom when he testified and I was beyond moved by the way he sat there and calmly told the horrifying story of what happened to him, coolly looking straight at the man who tried to kill him,” said Scar, a public affairs officer for the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

The following year, Scar deployed to Afghanistan. When he returned to Fort Hood, he still wondered how the recovering soldier was doing and reached out to him.

After interviews and about a dozen rewrites later, Scar finally told the victim’s story.

“That was a hard story for me to get the Army to release because the trial was going on. We finally were able to time it so my story came out right after the verdict came down,” Scar said. “I thought if the community could see how the most grievously wounded victim of the shooting was healing, it might help them heal a bit, too.”

Despite having to push the Army to publish the story, Scar said the hard work that went into it was worth it.

Scar’s story received first place in the feature article category of the Keith L. Ware awards for Army journalism excellence. Scar also was named Paul D. Savanuck Military Journalist of the Year by the Army’s Office of Chief of Public Affairs.

“That will be the story that defines my career as a journalist in the Army,” said Scar, who joined in 2009 when he was 40 years old. “I do love my job. It’s probably the best job in the Army. You get to see all the different things that soldiers do.”

Scar said it’s also gratifying to keep soldiers’ families informed.

“If you can get a soldier’s story in their hometown paper, it lets them know that what they do is important,” Scar said. “It boosts his whole unit’s morale.”

Radio awards

The recently established Fort Hood Radio station also received awards in the broadcast category.

Sgt. Jason Luong, a television and radio broadcaster with FortHoodRadio.com, said he was excited to switch military occupational specialties in 2012. Luong received first place in the audio information category for “Fort Hood Spotlight.”

“It’s been phenomenal. It’s by far one of the best jobs that I have ever held. It’s one of the most interesting and most gratifying jobs,” said Luong, who was previously a truck driver. “I’ve had more opportunities to do more and stay in contact with more people than I have in any other (job). ... It’s great to be able to basically give back to the community ... and get the information out there.”

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