Kentucky Guardsman receives Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe Award

Story by Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler, 138th Fires Brigade Public Affairs Officer
Photos by Spc. Lauren Womack, 138th Fires Brigade Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative

Kentucky Guard State Command Chief Warrant Officer Jim Simms with his wife Patricia receives the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe Award from Lt. Col. Brian F. Wertzler, 138th Fires Brigade commander at the 138th Fires Brigade Saint Barbara Dining Out in Frankfort, Ky, Nov.5. (photo by Spc. Lauren Womack, 138th Fires Brigade)

FRANKFORT, Ky.  –  State Command Chief Warrant Officer Jim Simms and his wife Patricia were recognized at the Saint Barbara’s Dining out for their lifetime contributions to the Ordnance Corps of the US Army that has spanned nearly four decades in Frankfort, Ky., Nov. 5.

Simms was awarded the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe Award and his wife Patricia was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Award.

The two of them being honored on the same night was very fitting. Jim and Patricia have been joined at the hip since they were kids. Theirs’ is a love affair that began at Jessamine County High School nearly 40 years ago. The high school sweethearts decided early on that they were going to get married and have a family. Jim decided he was going join the military as well and Patricia couldn’t have been more supportive, he said.

Kentucky Guardsman State Command Chief Warrant Officer Jim Simms presents the Keeper of the Flame Award to his wife Patricia at the 138th Fires Brigade Saint Barbara Dining Out in Frankfort, Ky Nov. 5. (photo by Spc. Laura Womack, 138th Fires Brigade)

“She understood that I always felt obligated to serve my country and I knew even as a kid that I needed to give back to all those who served before me,” said Simms. “She is just so compassionate and supportive of everything I’ve done. I couldn’t have done it without her, no way.”

The Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe Award is relatively new and not very well known. It was introduced in May 1994 by the United States Army Ordnance Corps Association. It ensures the proper recognition of Ordnance personnel who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding professional competence, served the Army Ordnance Corps with selflessness, and contributed to the promotion of the Ordnance Corps in ways that stand out to the recipient’s seniors, subordinates, and peers.

“That’s definitely him, ” said Lt. Col. Brian F. Wertzler, 138th Fires Brigade commander. “Jim has always carried himself with high standards. His professionalism, integrity and moral character are without question. Being able to recognize him and Patricia with such prestigious awards, having served with him during times of peace and war, was an honor for me.”

Now retired, with three grown children, Patricia was awarded the Keeper of the Flame award.

“I had no idea it was coming,” said a grateful and overwhelmed Patricia. “I was so surprised, I really didn’t realize how rare it was until Jim explained it to me. I am so honored.”

What is the Keeper of the Flame award?

It was created by the Ordnance Corps Association to recognize the immeasurable and irreplaceable contributions to the Army by the spouses who, in addition to keeping their own “home fires burning” during long peacetime duty hours and even longer deployments, willingly dedicate countless hours of hard work in the support of all Soldiers and their families.

Patricia said that through four decades of being a military wife there were a few bad times, lots of good times, but her faith in God and in her husband and family made it a lot easier.

Simms added, “A lot of other people are just as deserving of such an honor as I am.”

The honor of the award? Or the honor of having such a supportive spouse?

“Both,” said a smiling Simms.

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