COLD SPRING, Ky. – The DAV National Commander’s Award for Outstanding Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration Employee has been awarded to Srey M. Austin of Rapid City, South Dakota. The award will be formally presented at the DAV and DAV Auxiliary’s 95th National Convention Aug. 1 in Atlanta.

Since May 2014, Austin has served as the Director of the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota, where she is responsible for all burial, maintenance and administrative operations.

Austin is directly involved with the oversight of several current and upcoming construction and service contracts, including the millennium Raise and Realignment project at Black Hills and Hot Springs national cemeteries, including more than 14,000 headstones, new turf and renovation of more than 75 acres. She is simultaneously creating and establishing the budget for Yellowstone National Cemetery, the first rural national cemetery, in Laurel, Montana. Additionally, Austin addresses concerns, resolves complaints and assists visitors to ensure a high level of customer service and satisfaction is not only achieved but also maintained.

“Srey recognizes that the final resting place for our nation’s heroes is sacred. She is dedicated to honoring her fallen comrades with respect, compassion and dignity,” said DAV National Commander Moses A. McIntosh, Jr.

A 10-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserve, Austin first began serving veterans in 2001 as a veterans service representative at the St. Paul VA Regional Office in Minnesota, where she processed disability claims. Since then, Austin has dedicated her civilian career to giving back to her fellow veterans. She is a life member of DAV Chapter 11 in Spearfish, South Dakota.

“Having the insight of growing up in war torn Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime, my appreciation of our service members goes well beyond a paycheck and just a job,” said Austin. “Our men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice are the reason my family and I know what freedom is all about…to know what life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness truly means.”