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Public Health Amn competes for AFSA Amn of the Year

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – An Airman in the 436th Airlift Wing was awarded the 2016 Airman of the Year at the Air Force Sergeants Association Division 1 Annual Convention and Reunion March 25, 2017, held at the Hope Hotel & Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

Airman 1st Class Karie Thomas, 436th Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician, competed against members from throughout AFSA’s Division 1, which is made up of Active Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard bases and units spread across 16 states in the Northeast.

“I joined the Air Force because I wanted a purpose for my life,” said Thomas. “I grew up as a military brat, and the military gave a lot to me growing up. I saw the life that my dad, grandfather and great-grandfather had, and I wanted that for myself.”

At Dover AFB, Thomas is very active with the local AFSA Chapter, volunteering as its Treasurer, and throughout the base and local community.

According to Master Sgt. Nicholas Day, AFSA Chapter 201 president, the AFSA Division 1 Airman of the Year Award is significant because it awards the whole Airman concept.

“Not only does Thomas excel at her job, but she has an active presence around the base,” said Day. “She devotes her time volunteering through many AFSA initiatives and holding office in the Executive Council where she manages the budget of an 800 member AFSA chapter. Thomas has consistently demonstrated abilities and potential well above her grade and is more than deserving of the honor.”

Thomas explained that none of this would have been possible without the support and guidance she received from her leadership.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor Staff Sgt. Britini Jennie,” said Thomas. “When I first got here, she made me make a list of goals and she’s not let me become unmotivated. She’s really pushed me and stood by me, and I know I would not be where I am today without her.”

Thomas moves on in the competition to the AFSA International Convention Professional Airmen’s Conference in Reno, Nevada, July 22-26, 2017, as the Division 1 nominee, where she will compete against six other division nominees.

According to the AFSA website, their mission is “to advocate improved quality of life and economic fairness that will support the well-being of Air Force enlisted personnel; active, retired and veteran.” On the AFSA Facebook page, one of their messages states “we defend those who defend us.”

In addition to this award, Thomas has also won the 2017 1st quarter Airman of the Quarter for the 436th AW, and Senior Airman Below the Zone.