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Awards Banquet Spotlights Best of the Best

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jessica Q. Hill
  • 179th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The annual 179th Airlift Wing Awards Banquet was held at Café on Main in downtown Mansfield on Saturday, Oct. 23. The new location provided a cozy atmosphere and great food.

After posting of the Colors by the 179th AW Honor Guard team and 2nd Lt. Joy Ella Bourassa's rendition of the National Anthem, the evening began with a buffet dinner, followed by key speaker Chief Master Sgt Christopher Muncy, Command Chief Master Sgt.of the Air National Guard. Muncy encouraged Airmen to educate the people about the ANG and the vital role it plays in the total Air Force. "You've got to tell your story," he urged. He noted that while everyone at the banquet is there because they understand the importance of the Guard, not everyone understands the Guard or the jobs its members perform.

"The nation is hurting and it will be another lean year," Muncy cautioned. "You've got to talk about it [what you do]. The Guard accomplishes 34 percent of the Air Force mission on seven cents of every Air Force dollar." He asked members to consider what their family members and employers do not know. "You are this nation's heroes. Tell your story."

Following the key speaker, attendees' attention shifted to the awards. In the Airman of the Year category, which was sponsored by the Air Force Association and AM Vets Post 26, Senior Airman Montell Qualls Jr., from the 179th AW Communications Flight was selected. Nominees from this category included: Senior Airman Kyleen Dennison, Senior Airman Aaron Easterling, Senior Airman John Gardner, Senior Airman Jared Lewis, and Senior Airman Jacob Soldat. Qualls provided critical communications support for the operational readiness inspection in 2010, as well as being a member of the National Guard Enlisted Association and South Western City Schools volunteer.

Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lautzenhiser, a Bioenvironmental Engineering Technician from the Medical Group, won the Noncommissioned Officer Award. Nominees included; Tech. Sgt. Jason Brant, Staff Sgt. Nathanial Koontz, Tech. Sgt. Brad Windsor and Tech. Sgt. Sarah Woodson. Lautzenhiser coached basketball in the Lucas area and maintained critical environmental assessments.

The Senior NCO Award went to Master Sgt. David Shambaugh, a loadmaster from the 179th AW Logistics Readiness Squadron. Shambaugh deployed in support of the Marine Corps and completed Senior NCO Academy. He also volunteers as a CPR and first aid instructor for his civilian employer and at his local Red Cross chapter. Other nominees for this award included; Master Sgt. David Fulk, Master Sgt. Robert Harringer, Master Sgt. Scott Haywood and Senior Master Sgt. Michael Vasko.

Capt. Erick Cyders was awarded the Company Grade Officer accolade. Cyders, an officer in the 179th AW Mission Support Flight, directed 14 functional areas of the personnel deployment function during the recent ORI resulting in an "excellent" rating and an Air Force Commendation Medal. He is responsible for the management of more than 1050 unit personnel records and works on exercise evaluation team preparing other units for ORIs. Nominees for this award included 1st Lt. Gary Drummond and Capt. John Stephan.

Other awards handed out throughout the evening were the Minuteman Award to Maj. Joseph Logan; the Elizabeth Dubina Memorial Scholarship to Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Jones; and the Elizabeth Dubina Memorial Scholarship Public Affairs Award to 2nd Lt. Holli Snyder. The 179th Airman and Family Program Awards were handed out to Larry Moore of VFW Post 3494 and the Frito Lay Company resented by Phil Wilburn, Tom Gregan and Laurie Myers for TAG Community Partners of the Year and the Adjutant General's Volunteer of the Year to Donna Baki.