Prince William Police Sergeant Honored with Patriot Award

Posted: September 28, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

When George Mason Police Sgt. Kevin Barrett responded to a brusque request from Chief Michael Lynch to “get down here right away,” he was apprehensive. That feeling quickly turned to confusion when he found a roomful of friends and colleagues—along with a plentiful supply of cake, coffee, and other party treats—waiting for him.

The Prince William Campus community had gathered to honor Barrett as he received a Patriot Award, given by The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Defense. Both the party and the award were a surprise to Barrett.

Sgt. Kevin Barrett
Sgt. Kevin Barrett with his Patriot Award

The award recognizes companies and individuals for “contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.” Barrett was recognized for the support he extended to university Master Police Officer Blanche Cathcart while her husband was serving with a combat support unit in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.

With no other family in the area, Cathcart was left with the sole responsibility of caring for their two young children when her husband was deployed more than a year ago. When Barrett asked how he could help her juggle her many obligations, Cathcart told him that time was what she needed most. “I understood that the department had no obligation to give me any special consideration regarding my schedule, but I asked anyway.” Barrett readily agreed to help with those accommodations.

“The support and caring he showed me came at a cost to his family and personal life,” she said. “When no one else was available to work my night or weekend shifts, he did it for me. At other times, he took care of my children while I worked. He said it was ‘the right thing to do.’ His efforts were unusual and exceptional.”

Cathcart’s husband, Bill, nominated Barrett for the award. “It’s about the support,” he said in a telephone interview. “Knowing my family was being taken care of allowed me to concentrate on staying alive and performing my duties.” He remains on active duty at Fort Lee, Va., until February 2005.

When Barrett was presented with the award, he quickly pointed out the generosity of others at the Prince William Campus who provided dinners and support to the Cathcart family. “I’m very flattered,” he said, “but the folks on campus helped as much as anyone. This award is for everyone.”

“There are volumes about police supervisory practices and how to take care of the troops,” Lynch said. “But Sgt. Barrett has shown us a fine example of how it works every day, around the clock, and how to include the whole family.”

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