Commanding Officer of Navy Recruiting District (NRD) San Antonio, Cmdr. Karen Muntean recognized Mariel Grimes as the NRD’s Civilian of the Year and Petra Allen as the Contractor of the Year during an awards banquet held in Live Oak, Texas in November 2016.

Grimes, an Enlisted Processing assistant, is responsible for insuring that all prospective applicants interested in joining the Navy are qualified medically and competitively. Her responsibilities also include ensuring documents submitted by the applicants and their recruiters are accurate and correct.

During fiscal year, Grimes reviewed over 649 enlistment packages for enlistment. She also reviewed and prepared over 300 enlistment waivers and submitted over 1,121 medical documents for submission and review.

“Being selected as the Civilian of the Year was a shock to me,” said Grimes, an Army veteran and native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. “My job gives me the pleasure of serving my country and helping young children achieve their dreams.”

According to Muntean, a native of Calhoun, Tenn., Grimes was nominated throughout the year for her monthly and quarterly contributions and it was the culmination of her work that earned her the selection as Civilian of the Year.

“Ms. Grimes serves as a critical connection for Navy applicants between the front-line recruiters and the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS),” said Muntean. “She not only processes the Navy applicant's paperwork in the MEPS Navy Liaison Office, but she personally interviews the applicants and goes above and beyond to ensure their readiness and administrative qualifications.”

Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Russell Dodge, the NRD’s Officer Processing Office Medical processor and Collegiate Program coordinator says Grimes exhibits the same heart and tenacity in everything she does not matter what the task.

“You never have to question her passion for her job, the recruiters, her co-workers, or the applicants,” said Dodge, a native of Boston. “Ms. Grimes might be the most caring individual I've ever met. She not only cares for everyone in the command, as if they were family, but she feels the same towards every single applicant she processes.”

Muntean says it’s due to Grimes’ premier customer service and attention to detail that the NRD meets its goal each month to hire America's best and brightest for Naval Service.

“She is often referred to as “Momma Grimes” because she has become a part of our command fabric and serves as a maternal figure to our Sailors, many of whom are far from home,” said Muntean.

“People tell me I get too emotionally involved with the applicants, but I cannot change who I am and how I feel when I see someone trying to do something to better their lives,” said Grimes. “When they hurt, I hurt and when they are happy, I am happy. This is not just how I feel about the applicants; my co-workers to include the recruiters are my family.”

Allen serves as the NRD’s Waivers clerk responsible for handling all applicant waivers.

During the fiscal year, she contributed to the NRD’s mission by reviewing and submitting 315 medical, 15 civil and 5 Enlisted Community Management waivers to higher authorities for review and approval.

“I am honored to be considered and greatly appreciate the recognition,” said Allen, a native of Erlangen, Germany. “I consider myself very blessed to be able to serve the military and give back a little.”

Allen has served as a Navy contractor for Navy Recruiting for 17 years.

“Ms. Allen has the unique and critical position of handling various types of waivers that people need in order to be considered for Naval Service,” said Muntean. “The waivers she processes range from medical waivers to civil offense waivers. Her office is referred to "the Office of Second Chances."

According to Muntean, Allen takes her job seriously and is an advocate for the Navy applicants who hope to have a chance to serve their country.

“Ms. Allen provides premier customer service and she ensures every detail of the waiver she handles is perfect,” said Muntean. “She is perhaps one of the most proud Navy partners with whom I have ever served. There is nothing she will not do to help another person both professionally and personally.“

According to Dodge, Allen is the always thorough with her duties and her integrity and professionalism is unequalled.

“Her work ethic and professionalism is not even the best thing about her,” said Dodge. “Her ability to talk and relate to everyone is a true gift. After she helps you with whatever it is you need, she's quick to ask how you are doing and if everything is well. You couldn't ask to meet a more genuine person.”

Allen said she tries to keep the NRD’s reputation in high regards with Navy Recruiting Command by ensuring all waivers are complete and accurate.


“I don't see this as a job. I see this as an honor and it never gets old,” said Allen. “I am very grateful for all the support I received over the years as well.”


spacerNavy Recruiting Command, 5722 Integrity Drive, Bldg. 784, Millington, Tenn. 38054

footer strip navy centennial vets crisis line sexual assault hot line cdr guide voting assistance program military one source

This is an official U.S. Navy website - Registered with NIOC Norfolk, Va.

Navy Recruiting Command - 5722 Integrity Drive, Bldg. 784 - Millington, Tenn. 38054.

Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)