Wooden flag

Arnold Engineering Development Complex Commander Col. Jeffrey Geraghty, center, accepts a gift from Brandon Champion, an AEDC instrumentation technician, on Aug. 7 at the Arnold Lakeside Center at Arnold Air Force Base. Champion gifted an artistic representation of a U.S. flag, right, he made with wood to recognize the AEDC response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges for the Arnold Engineering Development Complex, among them being communication with Team AEDC when many members were off-base and unable to access their work emails.

During a time when there were so many unknowns, AEDC Commander Col. Jeffrey Geraghty took to Facebook Live, along with AEDC Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Robert Heckman, to host virtual town halls accessible to members of Team AEDC both at and away from the base.

Recently one member of Team AEDC showed his gratitude for the communication efforts of the leadership team by gifting to the Air Force an artistic representation of a U.S. flag he made.

“It is a gift of appreciation for keeping us informed during the outbreak when there was more unknown than there is now,” Brandon Champion, an instrumentation technician at the J-6 Large Rocket Motor Test Facility, said.

Champion crafted the flag from pine and oak, carving stars and the Air Force symbol into the blue field with a rotary tool.

Geraghty and Heckman accepted the gift on behalf of the Air Force.

“What this symbolizes to me is that we have found a footing in a new normal,” Geraghty said. “We’ve figured out a way to fight this enemy, and we’re going to take it to victory.

“It depends on every single one of you – supervisors, workforce, everybody. It’s a gift to you for the work you’ve been putting in and the work we still have ahead of us throughout the COVID pandemic.”

The flag will hang in the Arnold Lakeside Center for the enjoyment of patrons with a plaque identifying Champion and why it was given.

Geraghty thanked Champion for the gift and for sharing his skills with the AEDC.

“It’s something we can hang here and everybody will remember, for years to come, the challenging period that we’ve been through,” Geraghty said. “But we’re doing it to take care of our fellow countrymen, to protect the health of the workforce and to get the mission done. I’m impressed with everything that everyone’s been doing.”