Explorer Post 2868, the military career exploration program of the 122nd Fighter Wing, held their annual awards dinner on November 28, 2001. The dinner was attended by present and previous members, parents and supporters of the program, and was held at the Village of Coventry Pizza Hut in Fort Wayne.
As well as recognizing ten years of service, the post honored the accomplishments of members throughout the past year. "It is the highlight of the year for these members to be recognized for their accomplishments," said Staff Sergeant Tony Vining, Post Advisor and emcee for the evening. "The young people being recognized tonight have worked hard, and earned every bit of honor."
For the first annual award, SSgt Vining introduced retired Air Force Colonel Tom Eisenhuth, who represented the Air Force Association in presenting Explorer Colonel Gary L. Goldsberry, Jr. with Officer of the year honors. Explorer Goldsberry served as Post Commander for the previous year. "Gary was presented with many challenges, and made some very good decisions. He grew as a leader, and the Post grew as a result," said Vining.
Explorer Lt. Colonel Ashley Kellam was honored as Explorer of the year, presented by Vining on behalf of the Air Force Sergeant's Association Chapter 779, who sponsored the award. "We had many members who worked hard, and it is difficult to narrow awards down to just one recipient, however, when the officers were polled, Explorer Kellam's name was always mentioned," commented Vining.
The final award presented was the Advisor's Award, which honors the youth who exemplifies the Explorer Code. Explorer Senior Airman Jeremy Armstong was presented with the award. Explorer Armstrong served as Safety NCO during the previous year, and chaired the awards dinner and other projects. Explorer Armstrong will be leaving in February for Marine Corps basic training.
Members were also recognized for support of 122nd activities, leadership training, chairing projects, completion of C.O.P.E. activities, and other accomplishments.
Mr. Jim Hormann, whose son Jeffrey is a former six year member, told the awards recipients, "The awards you received tonight should be listed on your resumes in years to come. Whether you are applying to college or applying for a job, you will use them. You can be proud of what you have earned."
Explorer Post 2868 has been recognized as a quality unit for nine years running by the Anthony Wayne Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, many members have been recognized with Council and National awards, and the post has received Post of the Year honors 3 of the last 5 years. "That says something," Vining said. "these youth have worked hard, and do it for the benefit of the program."