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Senior leaders recognize Airmen at holiday event

United States Senator Kelly Ayotte congratulates Senior Airman Sarah Laperle for winning the Honor Guard Member of the Year Award during the 157th Air Refueling Wing Commander's Call at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., Dec. 6, as senior leaders look on. Also named as award winners during the annual event were: Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Christopher S. Storm; NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Amanda M. Bogue; Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Jay Gorsline; First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Jessica L. McWain; Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Joseph A. Smith III; Spirit of Hope Award: Tech. Sgt. Kayla M. Carpenter; Honorary Recruiter of the Year Award: Airman 1st Class Jesse Bornkessel. (U.S. National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashlyn Correia)

United States Senator Kelly Ayotte congratulates Senior Airman Sarah Laperle for winning the Honor Guard Member of the Year Award during the 157th Air Refueling Wing Commander's Call at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., Dec. 6, as senior leaders look on. Also named as award winners during the annual event were: Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Christopher S. Storm; NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Amanda M. Bogue; Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Jay Gorsline; First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Jessica L. McWain; Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Joseph A. Smith III; Spirit of Hope Award: Tech. Sgt. Kayla M. Carpenter; Honorary Recruiter of the Year Award: Airman 1st Class Jesse Bornkessel. (U.S. National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashlyn Correia)

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- Leaders of the New Hampshire Air National Guard thanked Airmen for their service and sacrifice during a wing-wide commander's call here Dec. 6. 

Maj. Gen. William Reddel, the adjutant general of the N.H. National Guard, stressed the role each and every Airmen play in contributing to the mission.

"You represent six-tenths of one percent of the U.S. population," said Reddel, highlighting the small amount of U.S. citizens that serve in the military. "You all matter; you matter to the state of New Hampshire; you matter to the nation; you matter to your families."

Brig. Gen. Paul Hutchinson, the state's Air National Guard commander, echoed that sentiment and recognized the crucial role families have in the success of the wing.

"I'm in awe of what of what you do every day to support your families, the state and the nation while balancing the demands of an operational guard in the call of our nation to duty," said Hutchinson. "We're a family and as a team we can meet any of the challenges that will be called on in the years ahead."

In a year-focused on the organization's future aircraft, the KC-46 Pegasus, Hutchinson reminded members why the 157th Air Refueling Wing was chosen to field a new weapons system.

"You're leading the nation and the reason why you were chosen is because senior leadership in the Department of Defense knows this is the right organization to bring this weapon system online," he said.

Col. Rob Burrus, 157 ARW commander, said he was proud to serve with all the Airmen of the Wing and lauded organizations from across the installation for their successes in 2015.

"We are really busy," said Burrus. "You keep coming back, you keep contributing and you keep taking care of each other so we can keep doing this mission."

Burrus asked those in attendance to keep the wing's 100-plus deployed members in their thoughts and expressed the importance of the wingman concept, which is critical to the success of the mission.

"It's really about taking care of people," he said. "And that's what I need you to do -- take care of each other, pay it forward."

During the ceremony, members of the wing donated $3,135 in support of Operation Sharing. The fund provides assistance to those in need.

The wing wide award winners were also announced during the event. Senior leaders presented plaques to the winners, which included:

Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Christopher S. Storm
NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Amanda M. Bogue
Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Jay Gorsline
First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Jessica L. McWain
Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Joseph A. Smith III
Spirit of Hope Award: Tech. Sgt. Kayla M. Carpenter
Honor Guard Member of the Year Award: Senior Airman Sarah Laperle
Honorary Recruiter of the Year Award: Airman 1st Class Jesse Bornkessel
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