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Maldia Thames wins Chamber Civitas Award

By Pfc. Jason D. Mills | | May 12, 2006

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce held its fifth annual Civitas Awards April 20 at the Dataw Island Country Club. The Air Station’s own Maldia Thames, the occupancy specialist at Tri-Command Military Housing here, was one of the recipients.

The Chamber holds the award ceremony to honor mostly local businesses who not only excel in their professions, but also give something back to the community.

“The Civitas awards, which literally means a city and state award, recognize excellence in business,” said Melissa Neeley, the communications manager for the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It’s for going above and beyond.”

Thames was nominated for this year’s outstanding employee award.

“My office submitted my name; I didn’t know they had submitted my name until the Chamber of Commerce called me,” Thames said.

Qualifications for nominees include fostering a positive attitude within the company, creating a healthy working environment, providing new or enhanced opportunities for the business, or creating customer loyalty through goodwill and service, according to www.beaufortsc.org.

“(Thames) is a great worker; she is always here at the office. She is often the first one in the office and the last one to leave.” said Jennifer Cooper, the marketing and public relations director for Tri-Command housing. “She is your dream employee, always at work; everything that she does is done right and on time. She really deserved this award.”

Winning a Civitas Award constitutes more then just doing one good act. The nominee must represent all of the qualities and characteristics of business excellence.

Thames’ office nominated her not only because of her outstanding performance as an employee but also because of her extra efforts during Hurricane Katrina. After the havoc of Hurricane Katrina, Thames began a campaign here to raise money and supplies for those families who needed it.

“I started asking for donations to help the families coming in because the military families coming here didn’t have anything,” Thames said. “So I started asking a few people at my church and it just escalated.”

Even though Thames is a civilian, her winning the award is a representation of the work ethic of the entire Tri-Command area, according to Cooper.

“Her winning the award is a great reflection of not only our office but of the military as a whole,” Cooper said. “We understand that moving can be one of the more stressful parts of being in the military.”

After everything is all said-and-done, it really just comes down to one’s ability to understand the needs of those people around them and their willingness to give of themselves without expecting anything in return, according to Thames.

“She really empathizes with the people; she puts herself into other people’s shoes,” Cooper said.

Thames realizes however, that without the aid of the local community she would have never been considered for the award. 

“I really am grateful for the support that the community gives to the military here,” Thames said. “This is an incredible place to work, I love working with the military, it’s been an adventure and I love every minute of it.”