AF names 2016 GEICO Military Service Award nominees

Release No: 114 
Nov. 21, 2016 

By Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs 

"JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas" - Air Force Personnel Center officials have nominated four Airmen for the 2016 Government Employees Insurance Company Military Service Award.

The categories and nominees are as follows:

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Category: Tech. Sgt. Darren Pennington, 22nd Medical Operations Squadron, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. Pennington was instrumental in the delivery of $1.5 million in mental health care for the Air Force's largest tanker wing and helped his flight earn the 22nd Medical Group's Team of the Year Award. Additionally, despite a severe manning deficit, Pennington singlehandedly managed 74 percent of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program's workload, which culminated in his earning squadron NCO of the quarter.

Fire Safety and Fire Prevention Category: Master Sgt. Benjamin Powell, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, California. Powell completed 1,400 fire and life safety inspections and identified 360 deficiencies, leading to $37 million in upgrade projects that greatly improved fire safety for the Air Force's third largest installation. Additionally, Powell managed a mission-essential space launch tower safety project, ensuring 100 percent compliance with strict fire standards and ultimately enabling seven successful space launches valued at $2.3 billion.

Traffic Safety and Accident Prevention Category: Tech. Sgt. Lee Elam, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall AFB, Florida. Elam oversaw the traffic safety program for 10,000 Airmen and families across Tyndall, working tirelessly to revamp the base motorcycle and traffic safety programs. He formed a partnership with the state of Florida Motorcycle Safety Foundation to obtain free rider trainer lessons, which saved the Air Force $56,000 and helped reduced motorcycle mishaps by 40 percent.

Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard Category: Tech. Sgt. Amee Espinoza, Total Force Service Center-Denver Operations Division, Buckley AFB, Colorado. Espinoza completed 600 internship hours and aided 32 addicts while pursuing her Addictions Counselor license. She led two victim impact panels and educated 300 offenders on the effects of impaired driving. Espinoza counseled 35 teens in an impatient treatment facility, and provided behavioral interventions. Additionally, she assisted Mothers Against Drunk Driving with helping affected families of alcohol-related accidents by providing 15 on-call counseling hours.

GEICO will select recipients in each category from all nominees submitted by each of the military services, and those recipients will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., next spring.