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Story by: Sgt. Major Corine Lombardo - Joint Force Headquarters
Dated: Mon, May 23, 2016
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. - Ten New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were honored during the Enlisted Association of the New York National Guard’s 33rd annual awards dinner here on May 20.
U.S. Representative Chris Gibson, a Kinderhook resident and former Army Colonel, was also recognized with an association award for his support to National Guard personnel.
The real stars of the evening, though, Gibson told the 135 people attending the event, were the Soldiers and Airmen being honored for their accomplishments.
National Guard members recognized at the dinner included: . New York Army National Guard Spc. Qian Han, from the 1156th Engineer Company, who was recognized for her selection as the top junior enlisted Soldier for 2016;
. New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Garrett Cummings, the 106th Regional Training Institute, Peekskill, who was honored for being selected as the top NCO for 2016:
. New York Air National Guard First Sergeant of the Year Senior Master Sgt. Deborah Nordyke from the 109th Airlift Wing’s 109th Maintenance Squadron, Scotia;
. New York Air National Guard Senior NCO of the Year Sr. Master Sgt. Patrick DiCresto from the 174th Attack Wing’s 274th Air Support Operations Squadron, Syracuse;
. New York Air National Guard NCO of the Year Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Mahan from the 109th Airlift Wing’s 109th Medical Group, Scotia;
. New York Air National Guard Airman of the Year Sr. Airman Andrew Lanane from the 105th Airlift Wing’s 105th Base Defense Squadron, Newburgh;
. New York Air National Guard Honor Guard Manager of the Year, Master. Sgt. Jennifer Dippo, 109th Airlift Wing Base’s honor guard manager;
. New York Air National Guard Honor Guard Member of the Year Tech. Sgt. Sean Redden from the Eastern Air Defense Sector, Rome, N.Y.
. New York Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Robert Buchanan, Recruiting Command Section Chief of the Year
and Staff Sgt. Amanda Jaskot, Recruiting Command Recruiter of the Year.
Gibson received his award for maintaining Army National Guard force structure within the National Defense Authorization Acts and supporting pay raises for military personnel annually. His efforts were instrumental in funding mental health resources for personnel returning from combat zones, and secured additional funding for VA discretionary programs, said Staff Sgt. Michael Wicks, the association’s president.
Assemblyman James Tedisco, from Schenectady, received the association’s state Patriot award. According to Wicks, Assemblyman Tedisco led the way for the passage of the three New York State Patriot Plans between 2003 and 2006 that contained a host of benefits for members of the New York National Guard and their families, was an early supporter of the New York state tuition assistance program for members of the National Guard that became law in 1996 and was instrumental in introducing additional legislative initiatives that include property tax exemptions for Guard members as well as state tax credits for employers that hire Guard members.
"Assemblyman Tedisco has been a long-time supporter of the National Guard and our association’s initiatives to provide benefits our members deserve," Wicks said.
Five children of Enlisted Association members received education awards: Shawn Burke, Savanna Caso, Lacy Johnson and Andrew Valenza.
A new education award-the TJ Lobraico Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of a 105th Airlift Wing Airman killed in action in Afghanistan in 2013-was presented to Nathaniel Palmer.
The Enlisted Association is dedicated to promoting the status, welfare, and professionalism of all members of our State’s organized militia.
"Our awards dinner allows us to recognize the top New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, our federal and state Patriot award winners and education award recipients," Wicks said.