Most people know that public affairs interacts with the media and the public to tell the Air Force story, but it’s not too often that the people telling the story become the story.
This is exactly what happened again this year when the men and women assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs were recognized as the most outstanding public affairs program supporting the Air Force mission for 2005 for the second consecutive year. Specifically, they were recognized with the Brig. Gen. Harry J. Dalton, Jr., award, which is awarded annually to a major command within the Air Force. Retired in 1980, General Dalton was the director of Air Force Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.
“This award is a direct reflection of the outstanding caliber of people working in this organization,” said Col. Susan Strednansky, USAFE Public Affairs director. “Whether it’s new technological approaches to traditional PA or providing council to wing PAs, everyone here contributes to the fight.”
The colonel explained that being recognized for this type of award is much more than just one agency working alone.
“This recognition is genuinely an example of the talent within USAFE as a whole,” she said. “The entire USAFE team – from the wing commanders to the staff agencies – made this communication award possible.”
Additionally, Senior Master Sgt. Stefan Alford was named the “Best of the Best” and the Outstanding Public Affairs Senior Noncommissioned Officer for 2005. The senior noncommissioned officer assigned to the unit was surprised by the award.
“It sounds cliché when people say it really is all a team effort,” said Sergeant Alford. “But, I feel very fortunate to work with some of the very best folks in the public affairs career field here at USAFE, as evidenced by the Dalton Award.”
The “Best of the Best” award, sponsored by the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association, recognizes the outstanding officer, civilian or enlisted person from all nominated bandsmen, broadcasters and public affairs professionals. Sergeant Alford, who has been in the Air Force and the public affairs career field for 20 years, was selected on the basis of professional excellence and his significant contributions to the Air Force mission.
“Sergeant Alford is one of the finest NCOs I’ve ever worked with,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jesse Hall, HQ USAFE Public Affairs Functional manager. “His recognition, coupled with the Dalton Award, really shows how professional and dedicated all our PA professionals are.”
Still, as Sergeant Alford explained, the acknowledgment of the hard work accomplished daily is the largest award of all.
“Some days I feel like I’m just barely keeping my head above the paperwork,” added Alford, “so this is a very nice recognition.” (Courtesy of USAFE Public Affairs)