TOP STORY >> Annual LRAFB banquet
Leader staff writer
Tammy Hill of Bryant and sons Tyler, 10, and Aaron, 6, accepted the award for First Sergeant of the Year on behalf of her deployed husband, Senior MSgt. Darren Hill, during Saturday night’s Little Rock Air Force Base’s annual awards banquet dubbed “2006: Airpower Arkansas.”
Sgt. Hill was one of 14 airmen, officers and civilian employees honored for their dedication and hard work at the base.
Nominees for the awards were introduced at the beginning of the evening. “One more roll,” a toast honoring POW/MIA persons, those killed in action, missing in action or prisoners of war, was made before dinner was served. The Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the Air Force, were presented with “The Arkansas Traveler” plaque signed by Gov. Mike Beebe, after their performance.
Guest speaker was Chief MSgt. Steve Sullens, who served as Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 314th Airlift Wing from May 2003 to June 2004. After recognizing several of those in attendance, Sullens, who mixed seriousness with a sense of humor, began his speech about Noah and his Ark, beginning with “don’t miss the boat.”
“Are you one of those functional people who wants to be an airman, or airmen who want to be a functional people?” he asked. “We need to be airmen first and something else second.” He continued with several key points, such as “plan ahead, it wasn’t raining when the ark was built,” and “stay fit, you never know when you’re gonna be real old and somebody’s gonna ask you to do something.”
“If I know anything, it’s if we don’t win this war, my family and I cannot live free,” Sullens said. “We’ve taken it (freedom) for granted.” He concluded his speech by thanking “each and every one of you, where it’s one minute or 30 years” for service.
Sullens is the Chief of the Chiefs’ Group, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel, Headquarters Air Force, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Following his speech, Sullens joined Brig. Gen. Kip Self and Chief MSgt. Brook McLean in presenting the night’s winners with their awards.
Award winners were:
Volunteer of the Year, Anita Urban, 314th Airlift Wing, Small Unit.
Non-appropriated Funds Employee of the Year, Category I, Samantha Healey, 314th Mission Support Group.
Non-Appropriated Funds Employee of the Year Category II, Lisa McGinley, 314th Mission Support Group.
Civilian of the Year Category I, Regina Penn, 314th Medical Group.
Civilian of the Year Category II, Bethry Becker, 314th Mission Support Group.
Ceremonial Guardsman of the Year, Senior Airman Michael Ligus Jr., 314th Maintenance Group.
Airman of the Year, Airman 1st Class David Hazzard, 314th Maintenance Group.
Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Tech. Sgt. Gina Christman, 314th Mission Support Group.
Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Master Sgt. Tundra Gatewood.
First Sergeant of the Year, Senior Master Sgt. Darren Hill, 314th Maintenance Group.
Company Grade Officer of the Year, Capt. Ryan Principi, 314th Mission Support Group.