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News > Pope wins 18 AMC Medical Service Awards
Pope wins 18 AMC Medical Service Awards

Posted 2/14/2008   Updated 2/14/2008 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Mindy Bloem
43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


2/14/2008 - POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Air Mobility Command has announced the winners of the 2007 Medical Service Awards and 18 of the winners are from Pope.

Out of the 18 winners, the following seven individuals are the winners from the 43rd Medical Group.

"I am proud to work along side such a fine group of people every day," said Col. Brenda Bullard, 43rd MDG Commander. "The Air Force is a demanding way of life, and these seven award winners had significant impact on the medical group's ability to offer top-quality care to our beneficiaries, in addition giving up many hours of their personal time to make Pope a better place to live. I congratulate all of them on their well-deserved recognition."

The MDG winners:

Company Grade Aerospace Physiologist of the Year:
Capt. Michael Akins
43rd Aeromedical Dental Squadron

Captain Akins joined the Air Force for life experience, family history, and education. He said his next professional goal is to run an Aerospace Physiology unit, preferably at a Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training base. On a personal level he is preparing his family for "force reduction" by sending one of his boys off to college next year. 

"I'm honored to have been chosen for this award," Captain Akins said. "These cannot be won by you alone. They are a reflection of the great things people you lead accomplish and the tremendous support offered by peers and leadership. Thanks go out to all my "wingmen" at the 43rd MDG. For my part, I just try to do the best I can at whatever the task is."

Group Practice Manager:
Capt. Kirk Jenkins
43rd Medical Operations Squadron

Captain Jenkins joined the Air Force for culture and experience. He said he tries not to get too wrapped up on specific accomplishments. When a person works hard and genuinely focuses on his assigned duty good things usually happen, he added. 

"It always feels good to be recognized for performance," he said. "It is more a testament of the efforts of those around me than anything I can accomplish individually. I work with a team of honest, hard working people who take pride in what they do for a living. That is the type of environment I always want to nurture and be a part of."

Health Care Integrator of the Year:
Capt. Marquita Price
43rd MDG

Captain Price joined the Air Force as a more meaningful avenue to help others and to also obtain a better lifestyle. She said her next goal is to complete her master's degree and make major.

"I am really honored," Captain Price said. "Most health care integrators are majors or colonels, so I feel proud to have been selected for this award. My focus is to keep our forces as healthy as possible. It's important to be proactive. I really try to center my attention on preventative care for our Airmen."

Medical Information Services Airman of the Year:
Senior Airman Mandy Fessel
43rd Medical Support Squadron
Airman Fessel joined the Air Force to travel around the world and do something a little more adventurous than what she was doing as a civilian. She said her next goal is to get through her the next phase of her training smoothly when she begins her new job after changing duty stations next month.

"I appreciate my leadership for putting me in for this award, and all the support from them that led up to it," said Airman Fessel. "This was a good way to wrap up my medical career as I transition to the aircrew world."

Outstanding Field Grade Social Worker of the Year:
Maj. John Jorgensen
43rd MDOS

Major Jorgensen joined the Air Force after being encouraged by a prior-enlisted college friend who explained to him all the opportunities available to a mental health professional in the Air Force. He was in school to become a social worker and decided that he wanted to get involved in something that would allow him to make a difference in the world. Major Jorgensen said he found the military offered a variety of ways to get involved with people -- ways he could have a definite impact. He said one of his personal goals is to finish raising his three children, together with his wonderful wife, so they grow into productive and happy adults.

"I was very excited to be recognized in this way, and I certainly could not have received this award without all of the hard work my team does every day," Major Jorgensen said. "I work in the Mental Health Clinic and am proud to be a part of such a great group of people. These professionals work very hard every day to take care of the Airmen on this base. It's all very rewarding work, and I have been fortunate to have been a part of a helping profession where I believe I do make a difference every day."

Outstanding Resource Management Airman:
Senior Airman Alexis Rengifo
43rd MDSS


Airman Rengifo joined the Air Force for its stability and camaraderie. She said her next goal is to finish her Community College of the Air Force degree this year. 

"I am very grateful to receive this award," Airman Rengifo. "I didn't know I was even being put in for it, so it took me by surprise. I love my job at resource management. One thing I try to do is never procrastinate. I make it a goal to meet the suspense a day early."
Young Health Care Administrator of the Year:

Capt. Stella Garcia
43rd MDSS

Captain Garcia joined the Air Force to serve her country. She said her next goal is to receive her master's degree in Business Administration.

"I am very honored to be selected as an AMC award winner," Captain Garcia said. "I strive to lead both my flights to do the best job to support the 43rd Medical Group.
Out of the 18 winners, the following are the 11 winners from the 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron:

"I can't begin to tell you how proud of the men and women of the 43rd AES," said Col. Robert Marks, 43rd AES Commander. "They do a tremendous job and are very deserving of theseawards. They put everything they have into the mission and this is another way to say thanks and to provide a fraction of the recognition they deserve."

The AES winners:

Expeditionary Medical Operations Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
Master Sgt. Matthew Morris 
Sergeant Morris joined the Air Force after hearing about all the great opportunities from a friend. He said his next goal is to finish his Bachelor's degree and to get that next stripe.
"I was surprised when they announced the results considering I'm from a small AE unit," said Sergeant Morris. "However, any accomplishments of mine are just a snapshot of what the unit does, so this is an award the entire 43rd AES can take pride in."

Best AE Squadron Patient Safety Program
Maj. Joni Marie Clemens

Major Clemens was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Public Health Service as part of a nursing degree advancement program. The day after the Khobar Towers tragedy she transferred into the Air Force. She said her next goal is to focus on the present. 

"I feel good about the safety program winning this award and the team of people who made it happen," said Major Clemens. "It was something I could do to show my appreciation for the contributions of Capt. Sharon Frazier, Capt. Nathan Ferguson, Capt. Reah Downs, Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Laursen, and Tech. Sgt. Brian Hudson. Apart from their unique contributions each provided glue that kept the safety program together through deployments and other coming and goings."

Company Grade Nurse of the Year
Capt. Gary Hardy

Captain Hardy joined the Air Force for the college benefits and then got out. He was out for six months and missed the Air Force so much that he joined the Illinois Air National Guard. He received his commission there after graduation and liked his Air Force job better than his civilian job. 

He said his next goal is to continue working on a master's degree in emergency and disaster management. He then plans to get his certification in Emergency Nursing. 

"I have to admit I was awfully proud the day I found out about this," Captain Hardy said. "I thought my commander was crazy for putting me in for it. I just strive to do the best job I can everyday. I am prior enlisted, so I never want to forget where it is that I come from. I may be an officer first, but I was an NCO before that, so I keep the enlisted perspective in mind, listen to my NCOs and try to out run a 20 year old on a daily basis. General Foggleman said it best: "No matter how shiny the equipment, people-to-people relations get things done."

Field Grade Flight Nurse of the Year
Maj. Kerry Barshinger

Major Barshinger spent nine years in the Army on active duty and six years in the Army Reserve. After leaving active duty, she went to nursing school and started working as a nurse. Although she enjoyed her job, she missed the camaraderie of the military. She then entered the Air Force instead of the Army to experience the military from a different perspective. She said her next goal is to get her Master's in nursing in order to teach nursing at a college or university following retirement from the military.

"It's always nice to get a pat on the back for your efforts," Major Barshinger said. "In my jobs as both a flight commander and flight nurse, I try to do my part to a build team that is ready to professionally and enthusiastically respond at anytime and anywhere to whatever task we're called to perform."

Outstanding Medical Materiel Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
Tech. Sgt. Rhan Williams

Sergeant Williams joined the Air Force to serve his country and also get out of his small town. He said his next goal is to finish his degree and get promoted.

"The award is a great feeling of personal and professional achievement and it shows the commitment of those I work with to recognize those members who are hard workers," Sergeant Williams said. "Everyone I work with easily deserves an award and recognition. In my work environment, I really strive to maintain professionalism, and a high degree of respect for those I work with."

Outstanding Aeromedical Evacuation Technician Noncommissioned Officer:
Senior Airman Jason McEachern

Airman McEachern joined the Air Force for job security, education benefits and to serve his country. He said his next goal is a college degree. Airman McEachern also won at the Air Force level.

"It is truly an honor to have won both the AMC and Air Force level awards for 2007," Airman McEachern said. "I have to attribute this to both my supervisors and our squadron, 43rd AES, for continuously challenging me both mentally and physically. In turn, making me the strong Airman I am today -- striving each day to give 110 percent in everything I do."

Expeditionary Medical Operations NCO of the Year:
Tech Sgt. Steven K. Barker

Sergeant Barker joined the Air Force for education. He said his next goal is to make master sergeant when he tests this year.

"It's an honor to win such an award," Sergeant Barker said. "I know there are alot of people who are submitted for something like this. We're always trying to find ways to improve to make us the best.

Outstanding Aeromedical Evacuation Technician NCO of the Year:
Tech. Sgt. Christopher T. Yarbrough

"Sergeant Yarbrough is clearly deserving of this award due to his drive for excellence, his motto of leading by example, and his involvement in the community." said Master Sgt. Tammy Birky, 43rd AES First Sergeant.

Outstanding Enlisted Health Services Management Senior NCO:
Master Sgt. Gregory Peppers

Sergeant Peppers joined the Air Force for Patriotic reasons. He said his next goal is to finish his Pope career and start his civilian career.

"I am surprised; I didn't really expect to win," Sergeant Peppers said. "I strive to look after my troops in the flight and make sure the mission gets completed.

Outstanding Nursing Service Senior NCO:
Senior Master Sgt. Adam Marks

Sergeant Marks joined the Air Force for an education and to travel the world, and his next goals are to study for chief master sergeant and to continue his education. 

"Winning this award is truly a reflection of the quality of the personnel and the outstanding mission our squadron has the honor of performing," Sergeant Marks said.

Company Grade Flight Nurse of the Year:
Capt. Kathy Martin

Captain Martin joined the Air Force to get managerial experience. She said her next goal is to become a chief nurse.

"This is a great award and testament to the work we do in the aeromedical evacuation world," Captain Martin said. "Day to day, I strive for clinical excellence in patient care and safety."



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