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Junior Enlisted Council gains new momentum

Chief Master Sgt. Shane Clark, Arizona Air National Guard senior enlisted advisor, speaks to the Junior Enlisted Council about the importance of professional networking at the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, June 7. The JEC is an organization comprised of volunteer unit members, below the grade of E-7, whose goal is to support other organizations on base, as well as provide Airmen an opportunity to develop their professional networking skills. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos)

Chief Master Sgt. Shane Clark, Arizona Air National Guard senior enlisted advisor, speaks to the Junior Enlisted Council about the importance of professional networking at the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, June 7. The JEC is an organization comprised of volunteer unit members, below the grade of E-7, whose goal is to support other organizations on base, as well as provide Airmen an opportunity to develop their professional networking skills. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos)

PHOENIX -- After a several month hiatus, the Junior Enlisted Council is back in action and their new mission is to help their fellow 161st Air Refueling Wing Copperheads.

The JEC is an organization comprised of volunteer unit members, below the grade of E-7, whose goal is to support other organizations on base, such as the Chiefs' Council, 1st Sergeants Council, and the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, as well as provide Airmen an opportunity to develop their professional networking skills and give back to the back populous through volunteering.

"The purpose of this council is to provide an avenue for those looking to help their fellow unit members," said Staff Sgt. Pat Clawson, JEC president. "It's a place where we can start our own path to leadership."

The council meets during the wing's monthly unit training assemblies and has five elected board members: a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and an activities officer. Currently, there are over 25 members and the JEC is looking to recruit more. A member of the Chiefs' Council also attends the meeting and provides guidance when needed.

"This is your council; we want to hear your ideas," said Chief Master Sgt. Martha Garcia, 161st Air Refueling Wing command chief and Chiefs' Council member. "This council is here to help you develop into future leaders, to take the helm after we are gone."

Today's meeting was attended by surprise guest speaker, Chief Master Sgt. Shane Clark, Arizona Air National Guard senior enlisted advisor. Clark spoke about the importance of professional networking.

"You are our future leaders - there are future command chiefs sitting in this room right now," said Clark.

The JEC plans to hold morale events like a 5k fun run and a corn hole tournament in order to bridge the gap between squadrons that don't consistently work together. They will also organize a food and toy drive to help out fellow Airmen who might be struggling.

"Our goal is to focus inward - we are here to help the people on base who need our assistance," said Clawson.

Anyone interested in joining the 161st Junior Enlisted Council or becoming a board member should contact Sergeant Clawson at patrick.j.clawson.mil@mail.mil. The council will elect new board members in September.