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Presidents' Corner
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LCDR Erika Odom

2017-2018 ACOA President

Dear ACOA Membership, 

We certainly have started out our ACOA 2017-2018 year with a jolt of activity! During our first month of operation as a new Executive Committee, ACOA hosted its first Officer Appreciation Picnic. The picnic was coordinated by CDR Anita Pullani, one of our many member-volunteers who work tirelessly to support ACOA events. We had an outstanding turnout of over 60 officers and their family members at Glenlake Park in Decatur. We hope to add this to our annual calen-dar as a fun way to get to know one another outside the office and to encourage participation in ACOA. 

Preparation for our next big event is also well under way! The annual Anchor and Caduceus Dinner, to be held on Saturday, January 27th, is organized by our Events Planning Committee, which is supported by numerous member-volunteers. We look forward to sharing laughs and toasts with our Master of Ceremonies, RADM Michael Iademarco, and we’re excited about hearing words of inspiration from our keynote speaker, RADM Wanda Barfield. Get a sneak-peek at Anchor and Caduceus details from the advertisement on page 20! 

I’d like to welcome our new 2017-2018 Executive Committee members. Some names you will remember (thank you for your continued service!) and some are fresh additions. The full listing of Executive Committee members can be found on page 4. I’d also like to take the opportunity to recognize the long-serving member-volunteers that support our uniform and pride merchandise stores: 

 Women’s uniform store leads – CDR Anne Purfield (2015-2016 ACOA President) and LCDR Elizabeth Irvin-Barnwell (2016-2017 ACOA Events Planning Co-chair) 

 Men’s uniform store leads – LCDR Andrew Geller (2016-2018) and LCDR Paul Smith (2016-2018) 

 Pride merchandise store leads – CAPT Bruce Tierney (2007 ACOA President; 11 total years served) and LT Shayne Gallaway (2016-2018) 

I look forward to working with each of our Executive Committee members and their committees to support the profes-sional development and esprit-de-corps of officers in the Atlanta area! Finally, I look forward to meeting YOU. ACOA thrives due to the spirit of volunteerism and service of its membership. Throughout the year, ACOA activities support professional growth, leadership, and networking opportunities for officers. Currently, we have a number of members who are deployed to help people affected by the recent hurricanes in the southern US, Puerto Rico, and the USVI. These men and women exemplify the true spirit of service, and we honor their efforts to protect, promote, and ad-vance the health and safety of our Nation. Let’s make it a year of continued action in service to our country and to ACOA! 

Kind regards, 

LCDR Erika C. Odom 



Dear Fellow Officers,

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the loss of our beloved friend and colleague, CDR Timothy Cunningham. Many of you are already aware of the official announcement made by the Atlanta Police Department today. Although this news brings us to the end of the search for Timothy, it only begins the process of grief for many of us. Yet in this time of grief, I’d like to take a moment to honor my Epidemic Intelligence Service classmate, the Harvard educated, Morehouse man – Tim.

Tim was simply brilliant. We all know Tim as an impeccable scientist, a fierce leader, and an officer of excellence. When I think of the brilliance of Tim, I am reminded of his bright smile, his intense dedication to family and community, his hopeful spirit, and his glowing heart of gold. Tim gave so much of his time and talents in service with the Atlanta Commissioned Officers Association (ACOA) as a volunteer with the USO, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the St. Francis Table Soup Kitchen. You can see the footprints of his legacy as President and Vice President through our increased membership and sales of our USPHS duffle bags. Beyond his numerous achievements, what I know for sure is that his vibrant spirit will live on through the lives that he touched – whether Tim was giving you career advice or chiding you on proper uniform wear, your excellence was his focus. I will forever be grateful that I knew such a man of honor and integrity. 

This is a personal loss for me. Tim was a true friend inside and outside of the halls of CDC. In the days to come, ACOA will work to host a community-wide event to commemorate the life of Timothy. It may take some time to coordinate, but please be patient and look for updates. In the meantime, I will leave you with a few words of appreciation from his family:

“We appreciate all the time, attention and professionalism you have contributed as we searched for our beloved son and brother, Timothy Cunningham. We sincerely thank all of you for the support and kindness you have shown our family during this difficult time. We are processing this incomprehensible loss and request time and space to grieve. Thank you, Tia, Terrell, Tiara and Anterio” 

This page last reviewed April 9, 2018

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