The Air Force recently named an 86th Medical Group Airman the 2014 Public Health Airman of the Year.
Senior Airman Allen Cherry, 86th Aerospace Medicine Public Health technician, won the award for his achievements in preventative medicine and food safety and efforts in community outreach.
Cherry’s supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Ireneo Alfaro, 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron NCO in charge of force health management, said that during his two years at Ramstein, Cherry has continually surpassed the expectations and standards set before him, prompting him to nominate Cherry for the recognition.
“This is the first time I have experienced maturity, credibility, hard work, commitment and dedication like this from a new Airman,” Alfaro said. “I am proud to be his supervisor.”
Throughout the year, Cherry developed a malaria pocket guide that was carried into Africa by more than 5,000 U.S. military members, completed 27 details as an honor guardsman, recruiting 10 new Airmen, and secured more than $8 million worth of food for 17 countries in Europe.
“I don’t want to serve half-heartedly,” Cherry said. “I want to serve to the finest of my ability and give it all I have. The Air Force wants the best of the best, so I am trying to be the best of the best that I can be.”
Cherry captured the 86th Airlift Wing Airman of the Year as well as a below-the-zone promotion to senior airman. Alfaro said that while Cherry’s work was stellar, he used his off-duty time to help others. He volunteered more than 1,500 hours at a Fisher House as a soccer coach and leading basketball camps. He also served as vice president of both the Airmen’s Dorm Council and Rising Four.
“I love working with the kids,” said Cherry. “I want to instill hard work and teamwork with the kids, because they are the future and, as the older generation retires, my generation and the kids will be stepping up.”
Cherry is part of a large team of public health Airmen servicing the largest population of Americans outside the continental U.S. He said he hopes he can use his accomplishment to help better the team and is grateful for their support.
“I want to give a shout-out to my family, my friends and my co-workers,” Cherry said. “I am doing my work, but without their support this wouldn’t have happened.”
Cherry will now compete at Air Force level for the Airman of the Year award; however, he said that no matter what, he has no thoughts of letting up and hopes he can inspire others.