161st Medical Group Airmen Receive ANG Level Awards

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin, 161st Air Refueling Wing

Many people are taught, from a young age, the adage of leaving things better than they found them, but how many people practice this, especially as adults? Do we strive to help new airmen reach their potential? Do we endeavor to improve the organizations we work in?

The answer for two Copperheads from the 161st Medical Group is a resounding yes, evidenced by the Air National Guard awards they recently received. The Air National Guard Medical Service Annual Awards program recognizes airmen, whose outstanding actions improve the delivery of health care and contribute to expeditionary medical operations.

Lt. Col. Tiffiny Strever, 161st MDG Chief Nurse, was recognized as the ANG outstanding Achievement in Nursing Development of the Year and Capt. James Taylor, 161st MDG medical readiness officer, was recognized as the ANG Young Health Care Administrator of the year.

“Being nominated for something by your peers is always a humbling experience and even more so at the national level,” said Strever.

“I was pretty excited to hear I had won, and to win an award at the nation level was beyond my expectations,” agreed Taylor.

Both Copperheads also mentioned they do what they do because they love it and have a passion for it, not because they expect recognition for it.

When Taylor joined the medical readiness office he said he did everything he could to learn about and see the bigger picture of medical readiness. He dug through Air Force Instructions, reached out to airmen throughout the career field and obtained as much training as he could possibly get. He said you will achieve great things simply by being a “doer”.

“If you start with smaller level problems, before you know it, you’ll look back and there’s been this huge drastic change,” said Taylor.

Strever gave similar advice, “Take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you, but also look for new opportunities. Don’t rest on your laurels, give 100% and truly have a passion for it.”

As Taylor’s award is recognizing him for his strides at the beginning of his career, Strever’s award is a culmination of a distinguished 35 years. She has authored curriculum and taught hundreds of courses and lectures in trauma and emergency care.

“Teaching and training is my passion,” said Strever. “I love to impart my knowledge to the younger generation, especially if it will make them a better provider.”

Many airmen on base do not have the same civilian career filed as they do in the military. This is no different for the 161st MDG medics, and making sure they have the same knowledge and comfort level as someone who is a medic on a daily basis is important to Strever. She said it is essential for the medics to have the latest and greatest skills and information.

“Whatever your career field is, practice the skills required,” said Strever. “You should be comfortable with what you are doing to the point you aren’t even thinking about it. Whatever task comes before you, whatever intervention needs to be done, should be automatic,” said Strever.

Taylor said working with people who have a passion for their career is what makes him so happy to come to drill and work with the airmen of the 161st MDG and the Wing as a whole.

“The 161st is an outstanding unit,” agreed Strever. “We have top-notch people in just about every position on base and it shows by the accomplishments the Wing continues to make.