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NEWS | Dec. 8, 2006

South Carolina NCO is Equal Opportunity Advisor of the Year

By Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. - South Carolina Army Guard Sgt. Maj. Swinton Hudson Jr. was cited as the Army National Guard Equal Opportunity Advisor of the Year (EOA) for his contributions in human relations and equal opportunity within the Army Guard and its communities.

Hudson is now a candidate for Army-wide EOA of the Year which was slated to be announced Dec. 14 at the Army Worldwide EOA conference in Orlando, Fla.

Hudson said there are a couple reasons why the job serves him well. "I'm dedicated to equal opportunity. I think everyone should have the opportunity to compete and succeed in life if they have the ability," he explained.

"I'm also a proactive person, not reactive," he added. "I like to nip things in the bud before they occur."

Hudson currently serves as an EOA at the South Carolina joint forces headquarters in Columbia. He started the job in August 2000 after more than 37 years in the Guard.

Hudson's equal opportunity knowledge is grounded in his previous assignments in the infantry, communications, computer programming, personnel, human resources and training. He has been a full-time Guard member since 1983.

Guard members should not have to worry about opportunity, Hudson said. Training programs keep everyone aware of rules, regulations and policies which negate a lot of discriminatory complaints.

"If they get their heart behind them on equal opportunity, they have a better chance of succeeding at their missions," Hudson said.

Hudson's accomplishments as an EOA focused on teaching thousands of Soldiers, Airmen and several community organizations about equal opportunity and human relations. Army officials said he placed special emphasis on promoting national awareness months by distributing information to the field. He also monitored the success of the Guard's equal opportunity programs and policies and traveled outside South Carolina to assist equal opportunity offices in other states.

Hudson's efforts removed walls and built bridges between commanders, leadership and Guard members, officials said.

Honorary colonel

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has inducted Hudson as an honorary "colonel," Gov. Ernie Fletcher has honored him with the "Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels," the highest honor awarded by the state.

The organization is incorporated as a charitable organization with by-laws directing it to be non-partisan, non-profit and dedicated to good works within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

"I think being named Equal Opportunity Advisor of the Year and a Kentucky Colonel are the highlights of my career," Hudson said. "Those [awards] are something I will always hold dear."

"I like to make sure nobody is treated unfairly. I want everyone to also have the opportunity to succeed or fail on their own."