Kirtland Associates Work Together, Win Top Prize in Show Your Mocs Contest


A group of eight Kirtland AFB Exchange associates won the grand prize in the Exchange’s 2020 “Show Your Mocs” event, sponsored by the Nation’s Network special emphasis program.

The worldwide virtual event, which was held in November in honor of American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, encouraged associates to submit photos featuring moccasins that they own or had borrowed, which were shown being worn or displayed.

The Kirtland Exchange winners are Human Resources Recruiting Manager Melissa Oranday; Office Assistant April Henry; Food Court Manager Immacula Pierre; Express Shift Managers Priscilla McLean and Alicia McCray; Express Customer Experience Associate Lillian Vellner; Main Store Customer Experience Associate Alyssa Roanhorse; and Express Warehouse Worker Mary Funk.

A pair of runners-up was also selected: Dava Maestas, a Fort Gordon Exchange sales area manager; and Rose Grant, a customer experience associate at Shades of Green.

All winners received books written by bestselling author John Maxwell and an Equal Employment Opportunity Diversity & Inclusion Directorate backpack.

“The culture and creativity displayed in the entries we received were inspiring,” said Bee Persaud, diversity and inclusion specialist for the Exchange’s Office of Equal Opportunity. “Not only was the event fun, but it was also successful in celebrating the history of the Native American Nations and recognizing associates who demonstrate the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

For their winning photo, the Kirtland associates each donned a pair of moccasins. While adhering to safety protocols during the pandemic, they sat on the floor at the Kirtland Express gathered around a poster that read “Kirtland Exchange Rock Your Mocs.” The photo was snapped pointing down at the group from atop a ladder.

Oranday led efforts to coordinate the Kirtland associates who participated in the photo.

“We’re in New Mexico,” Oranday said. “We have such rich Native American history here.”

During the photo shoot, she sported for the first time a pair of moccasins that were given to her a year ago. “I wasn’t sure how to walk in them because they’re a little bit slick on the bottom,” Oranday said, “but they’re comfortable.”

Roanhorse, who is Navajo, was excited for an opportunity to wear again the moccasins that were custom made for her when she was a teenager.

“I haven’t brought them out since I graduated from high school, so it’s been about 10 years,” she said.

Roanhorse considers her moccasins to be more than just special-occasion footwear. “They mean a lot to me,” she said.

Show Your Mocs winners

A group of Kirtland AFB Exchange associates won the grand prize in the Exchange’s 2020 “Show Your Mocs” event. From left are Melissa Oranday, Lillian Vellner, Priscilla McLean, Alyssa Roanhorse, Alicia McCray, Mary Funk and April Henry.

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