With well over six hundred thousand personnel serving in the United States Army, some Soldiers may feel that it is difficult to stand out amongst their peers.  Chief Warrant Officer 2 Karen Beattie, a missile maintenance technician with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, stood out amongst her peers by being selected as the Army Times Soldier of the Year for 2013.

Lt. Col. Eric Atherton, the 31st ADA deputy commanding officer at the time of Beattie’s nomination, said it was immediately apparent that she was worthy of nomination for the award.

“When I heard about the Army Times Soldier of the Year award from Command Sgt. Maj. [Gerardo] Dominguez, our brigade command sergeant major, and subsequently read about what types of qualities they were looking for in a nominee -- dedicated, professionalism, and concern for community -- I immediately thought of C Chief Warrant Officer 2  Beattie”, said Atherton. “I floated the idea to nominate her to the chain of command and her co-workers.”

Atherton went on to say that there are even more qualities that made Beattie stand out amongst other Soldiers.

“I knew she would be competitive for the award based on her professional accomplishments alone,” added Atherton. “But when I considered her initiative and hard work to serve as spokeswoman and organizer for the local Lawton-Fort Sill Gold Star spouse community over the past nine months, after courageously deciding to remain on active duty despite being a Gold Star spouse herself, I knew she had a very good shot at being selected for the honor.

“Her accomplishments on paper are stellar, but the professional charisma and positive attitude she exhibits in person make her an ideal spokeswoman for the Army and a wise choice by the Army Times.”

Maj. Ray Fails, 31st ADA S-4 officer in charge, said he felt a tremendous sense of pride at Beattie’s accomplishment.

“I was absolutely excited and felt overwhelmed with joy because I think she deserves recognition for everything she does, not only for what she does in the military, but for what she does outside of work in the Lawton/Fort Sill community,” said Fails. “I personally admire the things she does with Gold Star Families, who are personnel that lost a loved one on active duty.  She does a tremendous amount of work with that particular organization as well as with survivor counseling groups that help survivors deal with the loss of a loved one.”

Beattie added that she was overwhelmed with emotions when she found out she was nominated.

“When I found out I was nominated, I was instantly overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Beattie. “I was very, very, very surprised and I was definitely in shock, but I feel grateful that my leaders, unit, Family and friends thought so highly of me.”

Beattie said that she feels honored to be selected out of all the nominees.

“When I was told I had won, I was really surprised because there are so many Soldiers out there that do such amazing things,” she said. “To think that I even come close to them is hard to imagine.  I’m still really trying to process that they actually decided that out of all these nominations that I was going to be the one they chose.  I’m extremely excited about it and feel honored.”

Beattie wanted to thank those who helped her get to where she is today.

“You don’t get to this point by yourself,” Beattie said. “So while I have been nominated and selected for this, and it’s amazing, I did not get here alone.  I’ve had God, my Family, my friends, my co-workers and battle buddies and they have all supported, encouraged, and mentored me along the way.”

STORY BY: Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge of the 31st ADA Brigade Public Affairs Office NCOIC