MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. -- With jokes, jabs and joy, Marine Corps Air Station New River personnel said goodbye to a beloved civilian employee and awarded her with the meritorious civilian service award at the Eagle’s Nest Officers’ Club, July 10.
Kathy Zerba, the former office management specialist and community liaison coordinator for the air station commanding officer, was surprised by friends, family and colleagues with a farewell celebration to commemorate nine years of service to MCAS New River.
She is one of many civilian employees whose dedication has impacted the air station, said Col. Timothy Salmon, the commanding officer of MCAS New River.
“It’s important to recognize our civilians for their outstanding efforts,” Salmon added. “Our civilian Marines go to great lengths to take care of our Marines and our sailors. Kathy has been exceptional at that.”
Her dedication, skills and poise have made her an integral part of the air station, Salmon said.
“She’s a real professional,” said Keith Jones, a colleague of Zerba. “The air station is going to really miss all the things she does, because she makes it look so easy.”
Zerba held extensive knowledge of the air station and the personnel within it, and she used her experience to make things better, said Salmon.
But it’s not only her professionalism that helped her shine, she was also fun-loving and optimistic, said Jones.
Her positive approach helped ease tough circumstances, Jones added.
During nearly a decade at MCAS New River, Zerba has shown devotion to her work and to her co-workers, said Krystal Humphrey, a colleague of Zerba.
She shared her knowledge and experience with others freely, said Darrell Thacker, former retired commanding officer of MCAS New River. She served as a strong mentor and role model to many civilian employees, he added.
“She is loved and adored by many on and outside of the base,” said Salmon. “She will be truly missed. She has been a confidant and good friend to many.”
When she arrived at MCAS New River, Zerba, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, knew little about the air station, Zerba said. During her time aboard the air station she became a part of the community and feels she gained a well-rounded approach to her work. The experience gave her a bird’s eye view of the administration. She saw how the communities outside of the base were woven into the fabric of base operations and how each department at the air station worked together.
“There are wonderful, wonderful people who work here,” said Zerba.
Zerba is proud of her time at the air station, and the impact she had, she said. She looks forward to continuing her career at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune where she will serve as an administrative coordinator with the command suite.
The transition will be a homecoming for Zerba, who served as a sailor and worked for the Navy before her time at MCAS New River.