FORT HOOD — Fort Hood’s transition services said goodbye to longtime transition chief Katie Padgett during her retirement ceremony at the Copeland Center on Fort Hood Wednesday.
Padgett spent 47 years in the civil service working for Fort Hood’s transition services and assisted more than half a million soldiers who retired or left the military. Not only did she transition enough soldiers to field an Army, she did it all while being deaf, a disability her coworkers said didn’t affect her work and was something many never realized.
“She communicates with those soldiers even though you don’t hear her speak, she gets everything right on them and communicates with them,” said Charles Green Sr., director of Fort Hood’s Directorate of Human Resources. “She reads your lips and communicates back with her hands and in a soft voice. She doesn’t have a disability.”
Katie Padgett, speaking through her son Jacob Padgett as a sign language interpreter, said she enjoyed working and was nervous about the next step in life. She said it hasn’t quite sunk in until she wakes up and doesn’t have to call in sick. Her plans for life after retirement are simple.
“I plan on spending time with my grandson and spending my retirement bonus on a new car,” she said through the interpreter. “I want to do a little sightseeing, and then take it day by day.”
Katie Padgett’s hearing was lost as an infant due to a fever. She learned how to communicate at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin.
Robert J. Miller, Padgett’s father, said he was concerned how the disability might affect her future, but was overjoyed at how things turned out. Miller said he had two daughters who were hearing impaired.
“I’m proud of both of them, both of them worked and retired,” Miller said.
Katie Padgett received a certificate of appreciation from the Fort Hood garrison commander, Col. Henry Perry, and the Commanders Award for Civilian Service, an Army award for commendable service or achievement.