Civilian employees of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing gathered in the Cultural Resource Center Aug. 23 to honor Years of Service Award recipients and hear Col. Samuel Mahaney, commander, talk about his vision for the wing as the “wing of the future,” the Four Tenets of Leadership, the latest information concerning sequestration and a notional preview of the FY2014 budget.
Two commander’s calls were held, one in the morning, the other in the early afternoon, to accommodate work schedules for the employees. Both events were pushed to near seating capacity audiences. At the beginning of the morning gathering, Mahaney began his discussion with a simple explanation of why the employees were there.
“I wanted to bring you all together to honor our service award recipients and talk a little bit about what I see as the direction for the 452 AMW as the wing of the future,” said Mahaney. “Then I want to say a few words about where we are with regard to our FY14 budget.”
A majority of the service awards presented were for 30 years. There were, however, a few people who received a 40-year pin shared reflections on the years they have served.
“During my career, I have been privileged to work for supervisors with high standards, for not only themselves and the quality of work they provide, but who also projected those same standards onto their employees,” said Nancy Ferrick, Mahaney’s secretary. “Because of those professional leadership examples, to which I was privy to very early in my career as a civil service employee, I have always endeavored to do the best job I can in each position I have held over the years and encouraged others to do the same.”
“Even after all these years, I am still enjoying my work and the satisfaction of taking care of my commander and supporting the members of this wing,” added Ferrick.
One common thread for some of the recipients was the different jobs they had during their long careers.
Emilio “Emo” Matos, 452nd AMW budget officer, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1971 as a helicopter maintenance mechanic and spent two years at the former George Air Force Base, Calif.
During this time the Vietnam conflict was nearing an end and, because of the drawdown, Matos was given the opportunity to serve his last two years in the Air Force as a motion picture laboratory technician with the Air Force Audiovisual Service at the former Norton Air Force Base, Calif.
The military positions at Norton AFB were eventually converted to civilian positions so Matos was able to be discharged from the Air Force and returned to work in the same job as a civilian. Eventually those positions with the Audio Visual Service were converted to contractor positions and he lost his job there. Shortly thereafter, he came to the then March AFB and took a position as a supply technician.
Within the Civil Service system he was able to keep his income at the level of the highest position he had previously held while working at other positions on base. Eventually, he became a budget analyst in the base finance office.
As a 40-year service award recipient, Matos talked about his years of service and although he has no plans to retire in the near future, he shared his perspective.
“With the retirement thing, it’s having something that you can make work for you”, said Matos. “If you don’t have some kind of plan or something to help you move forward, life comes and goes pretty quick.”
“If you’re not doing something, people are either going to get ill or they just get tired and before you know it they’re back at another job. I’d rather just stay at the job where I’m at and do the job I’m doing as long as I can do it.”
The third recipient of the 40-year pin was Bob Kaschak, 452nd Emergnecy Managmenr.
Elaine Plein, 452 AMW, protocol officer received her 30-year award, but she has actually served 32 years with the federal government. She worked as a seasonal employee with the Internal Revenue Service, moved to Utah and worked as a student aid, married an Air Force member then moved to Germany for three years.
Upon her return to the United States, she moved to Florida and worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Later, she worked various jobs in finance at the former Norton AFB, the U.S. Audit Agency, the 452nd Communications Squadron and the Office of Special Investigations. She has held her current position since 2001.
“I’ve got 32 years in and I’m about ready to retire,” said Plein. “I’ve loved all of the different positions I’ve had. Every job I’ve worked at, I’ve made it to where I’ve enjoyed myself. A lot of times your attitude helps you to make the job enjoyable. I’ve really enjoyed working for the government.”
In addition to the Longevity Service Awards, Victor Flores accepted the FY 2012 Weapons Safety Achievement Award, Senior Master Sgt. Alejandra Enriquez received the Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service Personnel Award and Brian Scharage received an award for Palace Acquire Civil Engineer Intern.