JOINT BASE CAPE COD, Mass. – The Defense Department has recognized Jacquelyn E. Tellier, Massachusetts Air National Guard, as the 2020 Liz Blanc Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year.
Tellier, the sexual assault prevention and response program manager of the 102d Intelligence Wing, represented the National Guard Bureau as one of only six recipients throughout the entire DOD.
Tellier has a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Boston University. She is a nationally certified and state-licensed counselor who specialized in working with individuals with psychiatric diagnoses and traumatic brain injuries. She worked at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Work Life Program.
“The experience made me realize that I could be instrumental in helping sexual assault victims heal and move toward becoming survivors,” said Tellier. “I also wanted to teach military members about sexual assault and help them to define sexual assault and what is consent, as well as send a strong message that sexual assault is not OK and will not be tolerated.”
In October 2018, Tellier was hired as the 102d IW SAPR program manager.
“I am very grateful to Brig. Gen. (Virginia) Gaglio, Col. David McNulty and Col. Christopher Hurley for their unwavering support of the SAPR program and to the SARC, as well as their sincere empathy for victims of sexual assault,” she said. “I also am very thankful to Ms. Miranda Raines, NGM Region 1 SAPR program manager, for her continued support. But most importantly, I am very thankful for a very dedicated and professional SAPR team of volunteer victim advocates. They have been instrumental in assisting me in getting the job done, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
McNulty said Tellier “brought a true passion for caring for Airmen along with years of experience and best practices from her time in the USCG. We’re happy to have her in the 102d Intelligence Wing.”
Col. Roxanne Toy, chief of SAPR at NGB, said Tellier’s compassion and enthusiasm cultivated a safe space for survivors to find refuge and support. Toy said she rapidly increased the outreach and training to over 98%, one of the highest levels throughout the ANG. She also successfully multiplied the volunteer network from zero to five dedicated VAs to reach over 1,200 members throughout her wing.
Tellier said she is grateful for her supportive husband of almost 10 years.
“We live on beautiful Cape Cod,” she said. “We love the seashore, shell fishing and talking walks on the beach or throughout our neighborhood.”
They also love to travel the world. Because she is required to carry the SARC phone 24/7, she said her vacation philosophy is to truly get away from work stressors while traveling.
“Self-care is vital to remaining mentally and emotionally healthy while caring for the victims of sexual assault,” she said.
Tellier has her advanced PADI certificate in scuba diving and enjoys amateur photography and cycling.
“In addition to the Cape Cod Rail Trail, we have cycled in Canada, Italy and Spain,” she said.
The DoD renamed the award this year to honor Elizabeth “Liz” Blanc, who died in March after a long battle with cancer. According to Dr. Nathan Galbreath, acting director of DOD’s SAPR office, she helped victims of sexual assault even up to a few days before her death.
Usually, the award would be presented in person, but under the COVID-19 restrictions, it was not possible.
“When I received the congratulatory call from NGB, I was truly humbled and quite thrilled.” said Tellier. “The Liz Blanc Exceptional SARC of the Year Award is a very special award that recognizes a woman who was extremely dedicated to and accomplished in the SAPR field. To be held in that same light and to be recognized for my work in the SAPR field is quite a special honor. But I would be remiss if I did not mention or declare that I believe teamwork helped me to attain this level of recognition.”
SARCs work closely with VAs and other installation responders, train thousands of military members annually and help military leaders improve their support of service members impacted by sexual assault.
“If you know Jackie and any of our SARCs and VAs, you know how difficult and demanding but necessary these duties and positions are,” said Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard. “All of our SARCs and VAs deserve both our support and our thanks.”