MOS National Secretary, Marie Judkins, was featured on an employee pride article on the IRS Source intranet. Below is the article republished:
IRS employee observes Veterans Day in unique, inspiring way
Marie Judkins (SB/SE, Ogden), the national secretary for employee resource group Military Outreach for Service (MOS), observed Veterans Day by hiking up an Ogden area mountain to view the Major, a 400-pound flag flown annually over Coldwater Canyon.
Veterans account for just about 10% of the IRS workforce, which is less than the 30% average across all federal agencies (.xlsx). Nevertheless, chances are good that if you yourself aren’t a veteran, someone on your team or in your family is. That’s the case with Marie Judkins, an SB/SE resources training coordinator assigned to the Ogden campus.
Marie, a 36-year IRS employee, comes from a military family. Her late dad Rex served with the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. Her late brother Al and her brother Rulon served in the Marine Corps and the Navy, respectively. Her nephew Daniel saw service in Iraq and Afghanistan during his 15 years in the Army. Her great-nephew Nathan is currently in the Navy Reserves. Her son Tyson is a Marine veteran who served from 2008-2012, including about 10 months in Afghanistan.
“Even though I had many family members in the military, until my son joined, I didn’t understand all that our service members do for our country, for all of us,” Marie said. “I may never really understand the full sacrifice, but I can better appreciate it now.”
To honor their family members’ and others’ service, Marie and her sister Phyllis have observed the past two Veterans Days in an active, unique way: they’ve hiked to a lookout point in Coldwater Canyon, for a bird’s-eye view of a 400-pound U.S. flag, measuring 158 feet by 78 feet, flying above the canyon.
The special flag is named the Major, in memory of Maj. Brent Russell Taylor (1979-2018). Taylor was mayor of North Ogden, Utah, when his National Guard unit was activated and deployed to Afghanistan. Taylor did not return to complete his term as mayor – he died from combat wounds received during the deployment.
Her son’s and nephew’s service in Afghanistan add to the effect of seeing the Major flying over the canyon. “It’s just so awe-inspiring,” Marie said of the enormous flag. “It’s the best way for me to show a bit of honor to those who have served,” she said. Marie and her sister have agreed to make the Coldwater Canyon hike an annual Veterans Day tradition.
Marie also honors veterans and their families through her ongoing service with Military Outreach for Service (MOS). It’s an approved employee resource group within the IRS. MOS supports the interests of IRS military veteran employees, their families and raises awareness of the issues that veteran employees face. MOS membership is open to all IRS employees and retirees – you don’t have to be a veteran to join. Marie joined Ogden’s MOS chapter, Military Outreach Service for Troops (MOST), soon after her son joined the Marines. She led that chapter for a couple of years and has been MOS’s national secretary since September 2016.
Although her local chapter is dormant now, Marie is optimistic that it will reboot and resume group activities, such as sending Christmas cards to wounded service members and care packages to troops deployed overseas. “I’m a people person. I’m looking forward to the day that we can be back to normal,” she said.
Marie encourages employees to get involved with MOS or other official IRS employee organizations and resource groups. “You can join and support and help, and that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “In MOS, we try to do whatever we can to help veterans and those who are still serving. We can never do too much to help.”