officewr_of_the_yearby Andrew Revelos

Angelita Saunders, left, security officer at Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, is recognized as the COGAR Security Officer of the Year.

Employees and service members at Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) might not all know contractor Angelita Saunders’ name, but they certainly recognize her smiling face. The longtime contractor employee was recently recognized as the COGAR Security Officer of the Year for her outstanding personal and professional qualities.

“Officer Saunders never hesitates to support the team,” said Terry Lanham, supervisor. “From providing training and guidance to her peers to covering shifts at the drop of a dime she regularly goes out of her way and often makes personal sacrifices on behalf of the Security Operation Center. Her vast job knowledge as well as her never ending willingness to help a fellow employee has made her a ‘go to’ person for the team. She has genuine regard for her teammates and it shows on a daily basis.”

For six years, Saunders has helped keep Aegis BMD safe as a security officer. She also continues to lend her talents in the mail room, where she has worked for 10 years and currently serves as a team lead. Devoting her energy to two important jobs at Aegis BMD keeps Saunders busy, but she says her customers, coworkers and leaders make it all worthwhile.

“A lot of these people are like family to me, so it’s not hard,” said Saunders. “Working somewhere else, it might be different. But these people here-I’ve known these people for a long time. They know my ups and downs and I know theirs. It makes it easy. I’ve met a lot of beautiful people here at [Aegis BMD].”

A theme that Saunders returns to in discussing the reasons for her success with COGAR is customer service. “Dealing with different people, you need to be professional,” she said. “Me being here so long, it just comes natural. I’ve known a lot of these people for a while. Customer service is very important-how you treat people. It isn’t hard for me because I love people. Customer service is something I like to do.”

That love of helping people motivates Saunders to go beyond her required duties and assist the workforce she serves whenever the opportunity arises. “I like to help people so if I see them in need, I just help them,” she said. “If somebody’s car doesn’t start, I help them. It’s just me.”

The importance of the Aegis BMD mission is not lost on Saunders during the day-to-day challenges of her jobs. “We’re the first line of security,” she noted. “I take a lot of pride [in that].”

Saunders’ appreciation for her role in the Aegis BMD mission hasn’t dimmed in her decade of service. “This is the first job I ever loved-in the mailroom and on the security side-because of the people I deal with,” she said. “Not only protecting my clients, but being around people who have love and respect for each other. Even though I’m tired sometimes, I never mind coming to work. If it wasn’t for that love and respect, I don’t think I could do it. I love my job.”