The Defense Department recognized six sexual assault response coordinators for exceptional service over the past year.
The winners of the 2018 Exceptional SARC of the Year are chosen from each of the armed services. Awardees represent the very best in a large field of professionals dedicated to sexual assault response and victim assistance, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office officials said.
“Our sexual assault response coordinators form the cornerstone of our military response capability,” said Navy Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt, director of DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “They are often the first person our service members reach to for assistance. SARCs are a source of enduring strength for service members recovering from sexual assault. We are pleased to honor our awardees as the best of the best in their field.”
This year’s exceptional SARC awardees are:
— Air Force: Capt. Lauren McGuire, 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany;
— Army: Sgt. 1st Class Kacey Kitner, Fort Sill, Oklahoma;
— Coast Guard: Eric Barreras, Coast Guard Base Alameda, California;
— Navy: Hilda Ruby Godley, Joint Base Charleston – Naval Weapon Station, South Carolina;
— Marine Corps: Christina Chavez, Marine Corps Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia; and
— National Guard Bureau: Nicholas Gonzalez, Joint Forces Headquarters, Alaska National Guard, Anchorage, Alaska.
SARCs play a pivotal role in the department’s sexual assault prevention and response program, SAPRO officials said. When any service member reports a sexual assault, the SARC addresses the victim’s immediate safety needs, connects the victim to resources and assigns a victim advocate to provide advocacy and assistance throughout the medical, investigative and legal processes. In addition, SARCs work closely with other installation responders, train thousands of military members annually and help military leaders improve their support of service members impacted by sexual assault, officials said.
SARCs are a large part of the 20,000 certified sexual assault advocates DOD has positioned throughout the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard Bureau and Coast Guard. These professionals help service members receive high-quality assistance and access to the care they need to recover and heal, SAPRO officials said.