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Gilliam Takes Home ANG Chaplain Assistant Title

Tech Sgt. Shay Gilliam, a 152nd Airlift Wing chaplain’s assistant, received the Air National Guard 2012 Chaplain’s Assistant of the Year award this spring

Tech Sgt. Shay Gilliam, a 152nd Airlift Wing chaplain’s assistant, received the Air National Guard 2012 Chaplain’s Assistant of the Year award this spring

RENO -- It's not an overstatement to say Tech. Sgt. Shay Gilliam is a blessing to the Nevada Air National Guard.

Gilliam, a 152nd Airlift Wing chaplain's assistant, received the Air National Guard 2012 Chaplain's Assistant of the Year award this spring. He was selected for the award ahead of every other assistant Air Guard chaplain in the nation largely for his work in the Nevada Guard's Strong Bonds program.

"It was a complete shock to me," said Gilliam, who has been a chaplain's assistant since 2004. "I didn't even know I was nominated until I started receiving congratulations from the command here and the National Guard Bureau."

The award didn't shock 152nd Airlift Wing chaplain Lt. Col. Tim Gregory, Gilliam's supervisor in the Nevada Guard.

"He is a superior performer in everything he does," Gregory said. "It was only natural to nominate him. He is one of those individuals who embraces the lives of those around him and always makes a positive impact on them. I was overjoyed to hear he won. It is a well deserved award, considering everything he's done for the chaplain's corps."
Gilliam is widely known in the Nevada Guard as the director of the Strong Bonds marriage and singles' retreats.

"Strong Bonds is one of the biggest tools we have in our suicide prevention program," Gilliam said. "The marriages it has saved and the lives it has saved (from suicide) has been a big part of what we do here. NGB recognized that."

The Reno resident said much of his success stemmed from the support of his supervisors.

"I couldn't have received the award without the freedom and flexibility the chaplain's office allows me," Gilliam said. "The trust they put in me to represent the chapel has been amazing."

Gilliam said he hopes to enter seminary and eventually become a full-fledged chaplain. He said he hoped the award would bring some additional well-deserved recognition to the entire 152nd chapel staff.

"Our entire chapel staff has always gone above and beyond what is expected," Gilliam said. "I've never won NCO of the year or anything like that. So to get this, it's kind of like going from zero to 60 miles-per-hour in two seconds. It really is an honor