Best of the best honored

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.
  • 944th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs
As a celebration of outstanding achievements by wing members the 2017 944th Fighter Wing Annual Award winners were honored during a “Casino Royale” themed black tie gala held at the Wigwam Resort on February 11.

During the event, which was heavily steeped in heritage and evening gowns, Mr. Dan Clark, founder and CEO of Dan Clark and Associates, provided the keynote speech for over 500 attendees.

As a son of a former service member, and one of the most sought after motivational speakers, Clark delivered and inspirational speech about ‘Service before self.’ He emphasized the importance of our service member’s sacrifices and the appreciation he has for them.

His presentation was filled with humorous stories and emotional experiences throughout his life in dealing with service members that had attendees on the edge of their seats.

“I was impressed with his knowledge of our culture and the homework he did in preparation for our event,” said Col. Kurt J. Gallegos, 944th Fighter Wing commander. “Having him speak to our Airmen was exactly what we needed. I hope the message hit home and our Airmen use it and take pride in what they do and continue to strive for excellence in all they do.”

Clark’s other titles and accomplishments include: university professor; award winning athlete who fought his way back from a paralyzing injury that cut short his football career; a New York Times best-selling author; a gold record songwriter/recording artist, and adventurer. He delivers customized keynote speeches and transformational programs on leadership, building winning teams, relationship selling, and creating a culture of excellence to entry level employees, emerging leaders, and seasoned executives.

Gallegos presented Clark a framed photo of the 944 FW and a plaque as a token of appreciation and thanked him for talking to the group. Clark humbly accepted.

The evening ended with “007” delivering a “top secret” envelope with the winner’s names and then the presentation of the awards with a group photo of all the winner’s afterward.

“944th members have to balance their military service, personal lives and professional careers each and every day,” said Chief Master Sgt. Rhonda Hutson, 944 FW command chief. “Many have to make hard sacrifices in several areas to ensure the Air Force accomplishes its missions. The individuals considered for the 2017 annual awards clearly demonstrated sustained and superior performance throughout the year. Tonight is all about them!”

“Congratulations to the award winners, you are the best of the best,” Gallegos said while closing the ceremony. “Thank you for all you do in service to your country!”

The 944th Fighter Wing 2017 Annual Award Winner:
Senior Civilian of the year: Ms. Cory S. Zehner, 924th Fighter Group
Junior Civilian of the year: Ms. Donna L. Sekoch, 944th Medical Squadron
Airmen of the year: Staff Sgt. Elisabeth F. Yates, 944th Medical Squadron
Non-Commissioned Officer of the year: Master Sgt. Scott A. Jenkins, 924th Maintenance Squadron
Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the year: Senior Master Sgt. Katherine F. Soehnen, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron
First Sergeant of the year: Senior Master Sgt. Jason D. Cvancara, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Weapon System Officer of the year: Major Sriram Krishnan, 307th Fighter Squadron
Instructor Pilot of the year: Maj. William L. Wisehart, 69th Fighter Squadron
Company Grade Officer of the year: Capt. Julie L. Moroz, 47th Fighter Squadron
Field Grade Officer of the year: Maj. Daniel W. Daehler, 944th Operations Group