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A look back: Marshall’s 40 years of service

Published May 28, 2020
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IN THE PHOTO, Pfc. Valerie Gooch a.k.a. “Jungle Jane”, poses for the camera while on active duty in the U.S. Army. While speaking about her teammates during her time in service, Marshall said, “They needed me! They would call me Jungle Jane when we were in the field because I had my starched uniforms, baby lotion to smell good in the woods, and my mascara!” But, everyone who knows Marshall knows she could hang with “the guys”. “I could ‘hang’ setting up tents, digging latrines, running five miles as guidon bearer, and shot like a pro,” she added. Remember, she was the only female on the rifle team. Thank you for your service Mrs. Valerie Marshall!

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IN THIS PHOTO, Pfc. Valerie Gooch poses with a friend while active duty in the Army. She described this photo as being one of her “glamour photos” while serving our country.

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IN THE PHOTO, a current photo of Contract Specialist Valerie Marshall while serving in the Memphis District. Congratulations again to Mrs. Valerie Marshall and many, many thanks to her for her dedicated service to the Memphis District and our nation.

Contract Specialist Valerie Marshall recently celebrated 40 years of federal service, so we decided to step back and take a look at how she spent those years, as we are very grateful for her service to the Memphis District as well as to this nation.

While  she may be celebrating her 40 years here in Memphis, she didn’t start here. Marshall began her work for the Federal Government when she joined the U.S. Army in 1978. Known as Pfc. Valerie Gooch at this time, she went to Basic Training in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and from there served as a medic, emergency medical technician, and, as the only female and person of color, a member of the Panama Military Rifle Team.

Once she left the Army, Marshall decided to continue her service with the government as a civilian, and joined the Naval Regional Medical Center in Oakland, California as an outpatient administrator in the radiology department. Marshall stuck primarily with medical facilities up until 2005 when she began working at the National Acquisition Center in Hines, Illinois.

It was the job she had prior to the acquisition center that sparked the reason for a change - - the job she held working with veterans inspired her to move into the contracting field.

“First and foremost what inspired me was the veterans,” Marshall said. “While serving as a purchasing agent in the Prosthetics Department of the VA, I enjoyed helping the veterans get the products, medicines, home alterations, and equipment they needed. Providing equipment for the blind and handicapped, and seeing their appreciation for the small things filled my heart with joy.  I enjoyed having input in the selection of the equipment provided, and enjoyed informing them of products or services they were unaware that they may have qualified for.” 

Now that Marshall’s a contract specialist, she's responsible for pre-award and post-award functions, including acquisition planning, price analysis, negotiation, administration, coordinating, and controlling the full range of contracting functions from receipt of the requirement through contract close out.

Not only is she responsible for this long list of duties, but Marshall’s team members agree she is also a pleasure to work with.

“As a senior member of team, Valerie is often relied upon for sound career advice as well as personal advice,” Marshall’s Supervisor and Contracting Officer Monica Moody said. “Valerie has a vast amount of knowledge and experience in contracting and is truly deemed a team player and a genuine asset to our team.” 

Marshall is truly a valued part of our Memphis District team, and a lot of it can probably be attributed to how graceful she is about accepting everything that happens in life; even the bad.

“Throughout all of the locations, earning grades and new opportunities, having to accept lower grades to stay in the government, experiencing government reorganization, experiencing reduction in forces, failures and successes, I have learned a lot, met wonderful people, and I THANK GOD FOR EVERYTHING,” Marshall said.

Marshall lives here in Memphis with her family: husband William, son Montevius, and mother Mrs. Gooch. Naturally, she didn’t fail to include her contracting coworkers as family as well.

"Mrs. Val is the piece of the puzzle that makes us family,” Developmental Contract Specialist Kolbi Moore said. “We consider her the mom of the group. When she teaches us she does it in a very nurturing way. Aside from work she cares about our well-being outside of the fob (Federal Building)... she likes to know we are in a good mental, physical and spiritual capacity. She is the ideal coworker/senior specialist.”

Congratulations again to Mrs. Valerie Marshall and many, many thanks to her for her dedicated service to the Memphis District and to our nation.