Gratitude, focus of bi-annual Wingman Day Published Sept. 25, 2013 By 2nd Lt. Arelis Cuyan 146th Airlift Wing 9/3/2013 - CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Calif -- The theme of gratitude prevailed at this year's second Wingman Day held on Thursday August 28, 2013. In addition to reminding wing members of safe practices as the end of summer approaches, including a Bicycle Safety presentation by Public Affairs' very own Master Sgt. Dave Buttner, the event was filled with guest speakers, awards and service recognitions. In conjunction with Col. Paul Hargrove, wing commander for the 146th Airlift Wing, the Wing Safety Office wanted this event to focus on gratitude. This year's first Wingman Day, held last May, focused on Drunk Driving Prevention and held a more somber tone. The commander and the Wing Safety Office wanted to find a balance to a very serious, yet important subject, and bring a focus of thankfulness to the wing community. "We really wanted to focus in on how blessed we are, and on the good stuff that we have," said Lt. Col. Patricia Murray, 146th Airlift Wing Safety Officer. "Talks of furloughs, sequestration, and other undesirable situations called for an upbeat theme and one where we could focus on everyone supporting each other and thinking about things from a positive perspective." One guest speaker that helped bring this theme to light was Vietnam Veteran retired Col. Kenneth Hughey. Hughey described what would be his last flight over North Vietnam that resulted in his capture in a POW prison from 1967-1973. His story highlighted the importance of resiliency and hope as he held on through six years of captivity. It was because of his resiliency that he returned home six years later to his loving wife with whom he will be celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary this December. Airman 1st Class Adriana Castañeda, a member of the Force Support Squadron, and an attendee at the event, articulated the impact of retired Col Hughey's account. She said, "He was very passionate about what he did. It made me thankful for what I have and encouraged me to be excited about my job and put a lot of passion into what I do." Another guest speaker, Deborah Krueger, author of Let's Play Gratitude with Life's Sticky Issues, shared her own personal experience with troubles and her journey to a life of gratitude. She emphasized the idea that in order to move from what she calls a "sticky situation" we need to accept the situation and learn to let go in order to open one's self to gratitude. "When you switch your mindset to gratitude, you will see the blessing in disguise," said Kreuger. In addition to inspiring words and accounts of encouragement, attendees witnessed the presentation of service recognition and quarterly ground and flight safety awards. Senior Master Sgt. Ron Nester was recognized for his exceptional service as a Ground Safety Operator for a period of 9 years and was presented with a Meritorious Service Medal for his accomplishments. This quarter's Safety Award Winners included Master Sgt. Dave Winger from the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron for the Ground Safety Award and Technical Sgt. Christian Ring from the 115th Operations Group for the Flight Safety Award. Both winners are recipients of a time off/1-day pass award for their excellent adherence to safety standards. The safety office is currently taking new submissions for next quarter's Safety Award through the end of October drill. Contact the safety office to submit someone you think could be next quarter's Safety Award Winner.