County auditor gets Patriot Award

Matthew Livengood is chief deputy with the Washington County Auditor’s Office.

But he’s also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.

And when duty calls, Livengood has found that those in the auditor’s office will rearrange their schedules and assist with his workload at a moment’s notice.

On Monday, Washington County Auditor Bill McFarland was honored for the way the auditor’s office handles Livengood’s active military service, receiving the Patriot Award.

“The Patriot Award is for those (individuals) who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in taking care of our servicemen,” said Jack Griffin, a U.S. Department of Defense volunteer who works with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) as a military liaison. Griffin presented the award to McFarland Monday in the Washington County Commissioners Assembly Room.

The individuals who receive the award are usually employers who, in going above the call of duty, have ensured soldiers have flexible schedules, time off before and after deploying, and who help care for families and grant leaves of absence if and when needed.

McFarland was nominated by Livengood, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, a commander for the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment of the 321st ordnance battalion. Livengood was deployed to Kuwait in 2011 for a year, where his unit took in and processed the ammunition that came out of Iraq.

Livengood has been with the auditor’s office for a little less than a year and said juggling military with work is sometimes hard, but accommodations are made.

“Simply put, (McFarland) has been extraordinarily flexible,” he said. “If I get a call or am told I have to be somewhere on very short notice, he’s very understanding and accommodating.”

Livengood said his co-workers needed to be thanked, too; they make sure his work is covered whether it’s for a couple days or more than a week.

“(The award) was for (McFarland), but by extension, it goes to the whole office,” he said. “I appreciate them and their understanding.”

McFarland said he wanted the program to be recognized, but didn’t want to take too much credit.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything special,” he said. “All employers should treat their employees that way. I’m not after a personal accolade; it’s something all employers should do.”

In spite of insisting that what he has done for Livengood is nothing special, McFarland said the award was a great honor.

“I’m flattered to receive this,” he said.

McFarland said recognition was also deserved for the staff of the auditor’s office, who never question or complain Livengood’s duty and work harder to get all the work done when he is called to service with his Army work.

Griffin said all letters of nomination are reviewed by a committee in the Department of Defense in Washington D.C. who determine the recipient of not only the Patriot Award, but also the Seven Seals Award, which is awarded to a company or corporation.

“In 2013, there were about 20 to 25 awards given out,” Griffin said. “We like to present these people an award because they really deserve it. We don’t just give that award out to everyone…It’s one of the highest honors we can give an individual.”