Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Spencer and retired Col. Dennis Hunsicker served in different states, different services and different portions of the rank structure. Nevertheless, they have much in common.
Both are sons of retired National Guardsmen. They both have children serving in the force. And now both are members of a special category of major donors to the National Guard Educational Foundation, which preserves and tells all 386 years of the Guard story.
Spencer and Hunsicker were among 19 individuals, couples, corporations or organizations the foundation inducted into its Legion de Lafayette of large financial contributors Nov. 19 at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS and NGEF headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Each gave $10,000 or more. Some were first-time donors, while others added to earlier LdL-level contributions. In all, they provided $250,000 to the foundation, which operates the National Guard Memorial Museum.
“The National Guard has been my life,” said Spencer, who served in the Utah Army Guard. “It is only fitting to give back to preserve and promote our rich and significant history. I hope that this foundation inspires more family legacies of service to our states and nation.”
Hunsicker, a former Delaware Air Guard officer and onetime member of the NGAUS board of directors, expressed a similar sentiment.
“My modest support of the NGEF is the least I can do to further the public education of the critical importance of the National Guard to both the country and states,” he said.
Spencer and Hunsicker’s donations were their first major donations to the foundation. Retired Gen. Joseph Lengyel and his wife Sally were also honored for a first LdL-level contribution.
“We are so lucky to have been part of the National Guard,” said Lengyel, the former chief of the National Guard Bureau. “We love what it is, and we love what it does for our nation and for our states,” he added. “We love everything about it, especially the people.”
Other couples recognized for NGEF contributions included Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the NGAUS vice chair-Air, and his wife, Margo, of Nevada; Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham and his wife, Nichi, of Maine; retired Brig. Gen. David Fleming III and his wife, Andrea, of Delaware; and retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the NGAUS immediate past chairman, and his wife, Debbie, of Arizona. Farnham and Fleming are former members of the NGAUS board.
Each made a first-time $10,000 gift except for the Flemings, who added to a previous $10,000 donation.
Corporate gifts included seven companies adding to previous LdL-level contributions. They were Airbus, AM General, AT&T, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Textron and USAA.
“Supporting the NGEF helps educate the public about the heritage and contributions the National Guard has made to the United States and honors the memory and achievements of America’s citizen-soldiers,” said Craig Dupuy, the senior manager for National Guard business development for Airbus U.S. Space & Defense.
The NGEF also recognized Google PublicSector, USA Up Star and Veterans4You for initial major donations to the foundation.
“Veterans4You is honored to support the preservation of the National Guard’s history and to increase awareness to the people in America for the heritage and contributions of the National Guard,” said Timothy Farrell, the president and CEO of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based marketing and fulfillment company.
The 29th Division Association and the Mile-Hi NGAUS Conference 2019 Foundation were also honored for first-time donations.
Those honored received a replica of an 1832 medal the New York militia presented to Marquis de Lafayette, after whom the LdL program is named.
A French aristocrat who fought in both the American and French revolutions, he played a major role in the development of the state militias. Lafayette commanded the famous Garde Nationale de Paris in France. During his visit to New York in 1824, the militia unit that provided his honor guard adopted the designation “National Guard” out of respect to his unit in France.
The name stuck, growing in popularity until early in the 20th century when National Guard became the official name of the organization of militias nationwide.
For more information on the NGEF, visit www.ngef.org.
Top Row (from left): Matt Hall, Region Sales Director, North America—Textron Aviation Defense; Craig Dupuy, Senior Manager, National Guard Business Development—Airbus US Space & Defense; John Chadbourne, Senior Vice President, Government Operations, Strategy and Marketing—AM General; Command Chief Master Sgt. Dick Smith (Ret.), Military Affairs Relationship Director (Guard Services)—USAA; Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Spencer (Ret.), Utah Army National Guard; Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, The Adjutant General of Maine
Third Row (from left): Susan Hawkins, Senior Director of Strategy and Mission Solutions, Navigation, Targeting and Survivability Division—Northrop Grumman Mission Systems; Col. Dennis Hunsicker (Ret.), Delaware Air National Guard; Klayton South, Owner & CEO—USA Up Star; Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire (Ret.), Former Chairman of the Board—NGAUS & NGEF; Maj. Gen. Terry M. Haston (Ret.), Representing AT&T;
Brig. Gen. Ted Shuey (Ret.), National Commander, 29th Division Association
Second Row (from left): Sean Maday, Cloud Engineering Manager—Google; Timothy Farrell, President & CEO—Veterans4You; Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, Vice Chairman—NGAUS; Lt. Col. Russ Kraus (Ret.), Co-Chair—Mile-Hi NGAUS 2019 Foundation; Brig. Gen. David Fleming III (Ret.), Delaware Army National Guard; Gen. Joseph Lengyel (Ret.), Former Chief—National Guard Bureau
Front Row (from left): Kevin Mulligan, Senior Manager, U.S. Federal Policy and Outreach, Government Affairs and Public Policy—Google; Cathy Anthony, Chinook Sales & Marketing, The Boeing Company; Margo Berry; Maj. Gen. Janson “Durr” Boyles, Chairman of the Board—NGAUS & NGEF; Fran Kraus; Andrea Fleming; Sally Lengyel