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Four named Armed Forces Person of the Year

A WSU chemistry student in charge of a Marine howitzer battery. An Air Force medic who has handled more than 6,000 cases. A Navy culinary specialist who troubleshoots computer problems. A top manager who was among the first women to pilot one of the Navy’s nuclear carriers.

What do they all have in common? Each was named an Armed Forces Person of the Year by Greater Spokane Inc. at an annual luncheon Tuesday.

The competition is divided among four categories, for junior and senior enlisted personnel in local reserve units, and junior and senior enlisted for local active duty units. This year’s winners are:

•Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Samuel Lomasney, of Papa Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Marines. A howitzer section chief in the Reserves, Lomasney is responsible for moving, placement and firing of a howitzer system. In civilian life, he’s a chemistry student at Washington State University where he’s working on ways to clean up nuclear waste in contaminated soils, a member of the student senate and also of a National Collegiate Athletic Association subcommittee on student athletics.

•Tech. Sgt. William Haley, 141st Medical Group, Washington Air National Guard. An aerospace medical services craftsman, Haley has provided combat care to 6,000 U.S. and NATO coalition forces and served on more than 50 ambulance transports. As a volunteer in Afghanistan, he developed procedures for a local clinic and base standards and procedures for patient transport. He also completed nine credits toward a nursing degree while in Afghanistan and is currently a full-time student at North Idaho College.

•Petty Officer 2nd Class Demontray Braswell, Naval Operational Support Center. Responsible for a training plan for 200 sailors, culinary specialist Braswell is also his unit’s information technology expert and the person who troubleshoots the center’s computer problems. He manages more than 137 accounts and represents the Navy at local events including the Fairchild Air Force Base air show and the Lilac Festival’s Kitchen Engine, where he demonstrated the cooking skills of his culinary specialist rating.

•Petty Officer 1st Class Tamra Ward, Naval Operational Support Center. As the top enlisted officer at the center, Ward oversees training, administration and health services support for more than 200 reservists while working on a bachelor of science degree in human resources. Before coming to Spokane, she was assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 9, where she was one of the first six women to pilot the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier. In Spokane, her volunteer activities include Get Lit!, a women’s homeless shelter and a food bank.