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Oney named University Civilian of the Year


POTSDAM - Heather Bradley Oney isn’t in the U.S. Air Force, but her job performance is flying high nonetheless. In fact, she’s one of only four people nationwide to earn the University Civilian of the Year award from the Air Force ROTC.

Oney is the administrative secretary for Clarkson University’s Department of Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC). The unit is part of the Northeast Region, which consists of 37 units at universities located in 15 states and Washington, D.C. Oney now goes on to national competition against civilians from the three other AFROTC regions.

“Things are busy here and I’m happy to do what I can to keep it moving smoothly,” she says, adding that she needs to find a nice place on her desk for the award.

Major Chris Victoria is the operations officer for the Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment at Clarkson. He outlined a long list of Oney’s accomplishments when nominating her for the award. They include assisting with major events as well as handling cadet pay and academic issues. She also covers the duties of active duty staff between personnel changes.

“Heather took on more than what was expected, beyond what is just listed in her job description, and kept the office administration afloat so that our mission wouldn’t flounder,” he says. “She puts the cadets and their success first, which really speaks to the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence. For a non-AF member, she really modeled the characteristics sought in all Airmen when we need them most.”

A native of Potsdam and Colton resident, Oney graduated from Clarkson in 1998 with a bachelor of science degree in social sciences with a concentration in technical communications. In 1999, she was back on campus, working as a library paraprofessional. In 2005, she accepted her current position, where her many responsibilities make for a very busy year.

“We have some big events throughout the year,” she says. “There’s dining out, the commissioning ceremony, shadow day, POW/MIA ceremony, and a new student orientation program. I also do the uniform purchase, inventory and issue. We have a lot of bodies to put uniforms on.”

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