ALS receives Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Staff Sgt. Julio Alonso Airman Leadership School received the 2016 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award during a reception and dinner at Dover Downs Hotel Oct. 19, 2016.

Twenty-seven awards were presented to individuals and groups throughout the state, which recognized significant community involvement with 15 separate categories, including healthcare, special needs, education and volunteer service. Team Dover’s ALS received one of two volunteer service awards presented this year and were also the first military organization to win this state-level award.

“One of my greatest honors is recognizing the volunteers each year who give back to their communities,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “Their acts of selflessness empower so many others’ lives and contribute to a stronger and healthier Delaware for all of us. Tapping into their generosity is one of the keys to realizing our state’s potential, recognizing that government alone can’t solve all of the challenges we face.”

The governor’s sentiment concerning service also encapsulates the Air Force Core Value of ‘Service before self.’

“When you peal the onion back and look at ALS as a whole, we’re really just trying to develop leaders, more importantly, we’re trying to develop the future leaders the Air Force is going to need,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Barnshaw, 436th Force Support Squadron ALS commandant. “One of the key aspects of leadership is selfless service. We don’t obligate our students to do these crazy volunteer efforts, but we show them the importance of getting outside the wing and giving back to the community that supports us so well.”

The ALS cadre work hard to graduate seven classes each year, balancing school work with community mindedness, said Barnshaw. In 2015, they motivated and led more than 215 Airmen and provided more than 1,000 volunteer hours in the local community, saving community organizations an estimated $10,000 in contracting and other fees. What can’t be calculated is the impact they made in community members’ lives while practicing service.

“Between parade spectators, veterans, young girls participating in Girls on the Run, high school students and Dover families, it is safe to say their efforts have touched tens of thousands throughout the state,” Barnshaw wrote in the awards application. “The ALS cadre embodies everything the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award is all about. Their sole purpose, along with developing the future leaders of the Air Force, is to improve and revitalize the Dover community through their unwavering support and love for its citizens.”

The award package was presented to the cadre, but Barnshaw gives all the praise to the students of his school.

“The Airmen deserve the credit for this award hands-down,” Barnshaw said. “Without their motivation, professionalism, willingness to volunteer and to serve this community, this award wouldn’t be here. The cadre does an amazing job motivating these Airmen and providing them opportunities, but it’s the desires of our Airmen to go out there and go above and beyond that allowed the school to make such an impact in the community. It really just goes to show you the type of Airmen we have in this wing.”

Although Barnshaw and his cadre received the award, they attest it’s not really theirs.

“One of the best things about this award is that it was given to the school. This isn’t really the cadre’s award; this award is for all the Airmen that have come through ALS and all the future Airmen that will come through. This is truly a Team Dover award.”