JAG community member Lt. Kimberly Rios – who currently serves as Navy and Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity (Code 46) appellate government counsel – was awarded a 2018 LATINA Style Distinguished Military Service Award. The award, which was presented at the annual National Latina Symposium, recognizes women in the military and the Department of Defense civilian workforce who, through their service, have enhanced the role of Latinas in their organization.
“I appreciate the award for the message that it sends to underrepresented communities like mine,” said Rios. “Simply knowing that someone who looks like you, speaks your language, and has the same cultural background is proudly serving in our country's military can be truly inspiring.”
Rios was recognized for her outstanding work in Code 46, where – in a very short time – she has researched and drafted eight outstanding briefs, tackling complicated legal issues with clarity and persuasion. She also serves as the sole JAG community junior liaison to the Hispanic National Bar Association, an organization that includes Hispanic judges, attorneys, law professors, paralegals, and law students throughout the U.S. Rios is an ideal ambassador for the JAG community; she is deeply committed to the organization and her work.
“The most rewarding thing about my time in the JAG Corps is the willingness and initiative that senior officers have taken to mentor and support me,” she said. “The comradery and family-oriented environment of the Navy JAG Corps is one of my favorite things about working here.”
Rios also was recognized by LATINA Style because of her community work. She volunteers for Chicago Prize Hoops (CPH), a nonprofit organization based in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Pilsen in Chicago. While stationed at Great Lakes, Ill., Rios created and implemented the academic curriculum and mentorship program for CPH. Since moving to her new duty station in Washington D.C., LT Rios continues to provide academic tutoring, mentoring, and college and career advice to several high school students who formed a strong bond with LT Rios through CHP.
Additionally, Rios supports the East Aurora Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NJROTC) program. In an effort to continue the legacy of two influential East Aurora NJROTC instructors, Rios founded the Mrnak-Fayfar Scholarship Fund, which awards $1,000 to one East Aurora High School senior who participated in the NJROTC program and plans to attend a four-year university. As a co-donor, Rios reviews applications and selects candidates who have also benefitted from the values of honor, courage, and commitment championed by the program. Well done, Lt. Rios!