DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
The 436th Airlift Wing recognized its military and civilian “superheroes” during the 2017 Annual Awards Ceremony held Feb. 3, 2018, at the Delaware Technical Community College Convention Center in Dover, Delaware.
Having a superhero theme, fellow Team Dover members, honorary commanders, local civic leaders, community partners, sponsors, friends and family, nearly 400 in total, came out to support 52 nominees, competing in their respective categories.
Planning for this year’s ceremony started back in September 2017, said Capt. Shannon Murphy, 9th Airlift Squadron A-Flight commander, and Senior Master Sgt. Alfredo Perez, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent, co-chairpersons for the annual awards ceremony committee.
“We asked for commitment, they gave us dedication,” Perez stated about the annual awards ceremony committee members. “We asked for cooperation, they gave us support.”
Visiting with members of Team Dover for two days, Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro Jr., United States Air Force Academy Freefall Training Program NCO in charge, Colorado Springs, Colorado, was the guest speaker for the evening.
“Getting out there - meeting all the different units and see what they all do - is really eye-opening because sometimes at certain levels, you don’t get to see what all the other career fields do,” said Del Toro prior to the start of the ceremony.
During his speech about overcoming adversity, Del Toro spoke candidly about his life struggles prior to and during his Air Force career leading up to his life-changing event and beyond, including his public speaking events.
“If I can touch that one person who is having a really bad day, who feels like it’s not worth fighting anymore, to have them change that attitude, help them find that fire inside [them], because we all have it, but you have to figure out what it is,” said Del Toro. “If I can help them change that mentality and start thinking positively by not giving up, then all the pain and suffering I went through since the age of 12 is worth it, if I was able to help that one person who really needed it … if I’m able to do that, I’ve done my job.”
After his speech, Del Toro, Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Zimmerman, 436th AW interim command chief, took center stage to present the coveted eagle trophies to the following individuals and teams:
Airman Service Award of the Year: Staff Sgt. Robert Andrews, 436th Force Support Squadron
Volunteer Service Award of the Year: Mrs. Laurene Buckley, 436th Airlift Wing Chapel
Civilian Employee of the Year Category One: Mr. Justin Viens, 436th Security Forces Squadron
Civilian Employee of the Year Category Two: Mr. Derek Finney, 436th Security Forces Squadron
Civilian Employee of the Year Category Three: Ms. Colette McCulley, 436th Force Support Squadron
Key Spouse of the Year: Mrs. Shannon Wrobel, 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Honor Guard Member of the Year: Senior Airman Jayda Schmidt, 436th Operations Support Squadron
First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Matthew Morrison, 9th Airlift Squadron
Team of the Year: C-5 Operations and Maintenance Team, 436th Operations Group and 436th Maintenance Group
Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Alejandra Lowe, 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Brett Charity, 436th Operations Support Squadron
Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Master Sgt. Charles Patterson, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron
Junior Company Grade Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Sophia Rizzo, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Senior Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Jasmine Paul, 436th Comptroller Squadron
Before Griffin made his closing remarks, he and Zimmerman presented Del Toro with the last superhero award of the evening, a certificate honoring his membership and induction into the 436th AW “Hall of Justice” for superheroes. Griffin noted an Air Mobility Command Museum Foundation commemorative brick with Del Toro’s name is scheduled to be placed in the museum’s Commemorative Park.