It was a bittersweet farewell.
Fort Hamilton Army Base serviceman Tony Stephens transferred his responsibilities as Command Sgt. Major to his successor during a change of responsibility ceremony on June 8, an event that also marked his retirement and highlighted his gratitude toward his colleagues, according to a spokesman from the military installation.
“He spoke very highly of his staff members — the soldiers that worked for him,” said Bruce Hill. “And he thanked and appreciated his family for sticking with him.”
Stephens chose to retire after completing more than 30 years of service, including his two-year tenure as Command Sgt. Major, where he acted as an advisor on the base. He took the motto “soldiers helping soldiers” to heart, encouraging his fellow servicemen to donate to the Army Emergency Relief program, which helps soldiers and their families in financial matters, according to Hill.
“That was one of his heartfelt projects,” Hill said. “He wanted to ensure soldiers were there to help soldiers. He was often encouraging others to help their comrades.”
And the ceremony also honored Stephens’s successor, LaShan Hayes, who will take on responsibilities as Command Sgt. Major for two years until her duties are passed on to someone else. Hill said the exchanging of responsibilities is part of the normal goings-on at the base.
“Change of command ceremonies are very commonplace for us,” he said.