AFRL Sensors Directorate employee balances challenges during pandemic

  • Published
  • By Zach Tateman
  • Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Tracy Vance, an Air Force Research Lab Sensors Directorate financial operations specialist, goes above and beyond at work and in her personal life, even during unprecedented times.

Just as Vance was promoted to her new position as a financial operations specialist in March, COVID-19 forced many to work from home. Now she had to learn her new job, help train her replacement, all while transitioning to working remotely.

“I’ve been able to communicate with my replacement and the financial folks via email, phone calls, texts, FaceTime, Zoom meetings, and sharing screens using Skype,” said Vance. “We’ve all been thrown into a chaotic situation and are doing the best we can.”

Normally this would be plenty to keep her busy, but Vance has more going on at home than just work. In early March, as COVID-19 started to spread throughout the US, Vance and her husband Michael decided to take Michael’s brother, Justin, out of his group home for special needs and into their own home. Justin has Down syndrome, and they felt that he would be safer staying with them.

“With the spread of COVID being uncertain we wanted to limit his exposure to other people,” said Vance. “Since he has Down syndrome, his immune system is already compromised and even a common cold can take him a few weeks to recover from.”

Bringing Justin into their home has presented some challenges for Vance and her husband, but his presence has impacted them in many ways.

“As the days have become weeks with having Justin I’ve realized how grateful I am that he is with us during the COVID pandemic,” said Vance. “He has brought so much laughter and joy to a stressful situation that could have left my husband and me feeling very negative. He always wants hugs which definitely helps relieve the work stress during the day!”

While managing this new living situation, Vance has continued to exceed expectations with her work performance.

“Despite the challenges of having to learn remotely, Tracy Vance has done an exceptional job at understanding this new role from a retiring employee and continues to ensure that execution is being administered,” said Brocton Begley, an AFRL Sensors Directorate business manager. “She has also been playing the role of a mentor to the employee that is taking over her old position. Just as she’s had to learn via teleworking, she’s also had to teach in the same capacity.”

Vance embodies the Air Force core values, especially service before self. Her dedication to fulfilling her new role and taking care of loved ones highlights what it means to truly go above and beyond.