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Nevada Air National Guard celebrates award winners

Nevada Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Rick Scurry, Brig. Gen. David Snyder, Staff Sgt. Bartley O'Toole, Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Sitton and Brig. Gen. William Burks award the Nevada Air National Guard Outstanding Honor Guard Member of the Year 2012 to Staff Sgt. O'Toole during the NVANG's fourth annual Outstanding Airman of the Year Banquet  Saturday,  January 5, 2013, at the NVANG base, Reno, Nev.  (USAF Photo by Master Sgt. Suzanne Connell) (RELEASED)

Nevada Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Rick Scurry, Brig. Gen. David Snyder, Staff Sgt. Bartley O'Toole, Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Sitton and Brig. Gen. William Burks award the Nevada Air National Guard Outstanding Honor Guard Member of the Year 2012 to Staff Sgt. O'Toole during the NVANG's fourth annual Outstanding Airman of the Year Banquet Saturday, January 5, 2013, at the NVANG base, Reno, Nev. (USAF Photo by Master Sgt. Suzanne Connell) (RELEASED)

RENO --       The Nevada Air National Guard took time out of its busy schedule to recognize its top performers on Saturday. In a ceremony attended by Governor Brian Sandoval, Brig. Gen. Bill Burks, Brig. Gen. David Snyder, Col. Jeffrey Burkett and other dignitaries, Air Guard members were recognized for performance above and beyond the standard.

     The Adjutant General's Silver State Sentinel Award for Excellence is presented to individuals whose service is considered above and beyond, and who have had a significant, positive impact on the state of Nevada. The Commander's Excellence award is for airmen nominated by senior leadership. They're individuals who have diligently and quietly gone about doing quality work. The Chief's Council Award recognizes members for outstanding contribution to the Nevada Air National Guard. The Diversity Award is for individuals or groups who innovate, inspire and work across organizational borders to strengthen and grow the entire diversity sector. The Air Force Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award is a national level award. It recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the highest qualities of leadership in their jobs and in their lives.

     On Saturday evening, additional awards were presented to the Airman, Non-Commissioned Officer, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, Company Grade Officer, First Sergeant, and Honor Guard Members of the year at a dinner event.

     Top honors for the Airman of the Year award went to Senior Airman Sean Bird. In the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year category, Tech. Sgt. Christa Morter got the nod. The Senior
     Non-Commissioned Officer of the year is Master Sgt. Joe Henle and the Company Grade Officer of the year is Capt. Chris Leroy. All four winners hail from the 152nd Operations Support Flight in Reno. From the 152nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Master Sgt. Jordan Bean was selected as the First Sergeant of the Year and the Honor Guard Member of the Year is Staff Sgt. Bartley O'Toole from the 152nd Operations Support Flight.
Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Tech. Sgt. Christa Morter stated, "I'm honored and humbled to be here and I'm excited for the opportunity to represent the ops group and all the hard work they do."

     Annual award winners will represent the state of Nevada as they compete for awards on the national level.

     Attendees of the evening ceremony were honored by the attendance of retired Lt. Col. William Elander. A decorated Air Force command pilot who survived 267 days in captivity as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam in 1972, Elander led the High Rollers group through the prisoner of war remembrance table ceremony at the beginning of the dinner.

     Throughout the evening, honor and pride were the words most heard. Master Sgt. Jordan Bean said he was honored to be nominated for such an award and to be part of a group.

     Friends and family members shared in the winners' pride. Candy Burkett, the wife of the 152nd Airlift Wing Commander Col. Jeff Burkett, said she was honored to be here. Jennifer Snyder, the wife of the Nevada Air Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Snyder said, "Tomorrow's leaders are standing with us today."