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Wingman Award
Wingman Award medal. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Kent Bingham)
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Annual Wingman Awards

Posted 6/3/2009   Updated 6/4/2009 Email story   Print story


by Airman First Class Robby Hedrick
75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office

6/3/2009 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, UTAH -- Maj. Gen. Kathleen Close, Ogden Air Logistics Center commander, presented three local residents with Wingman Awards during a Wingman Luncheon, June 2 at Club Hill.
Jerry Stevenson, Steve Rush and Debra (Deb) Tanzi each received the award for their support of the base and the individuals assigned here.

"We established the Hill AFB Community Wingman Award in 2007," said General Close. "This is our chance to say thank you, continue developing friendships and enact the Wingman concept.

"Base leaders selected theses deserving recipients whose actions have resulted in positive change for Team Hill. Our honorees have demonstrated selflessness, great dedication and commitment to the Air Force mission and the members of our base. We are proud to recognize their contributions and say 'thank you' for their untiring support," said General Close.

Along with a lapel pin and medals, each recipient has been remembered with a permanent display, which features the recipient's likeness, as well as a description of what they have done to support the base which is displayed in the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame at the Hill Aerospace Museum.

The following is what appeared on each individual's placard and a message each shared upon receiving the medals.

Mr. Jerry Stevenson

"My wife and I have enjoyed this great opportunity to serve our country by serving you," said Mr. Jerry Stevenson.

When Jerry Stevenson became Mayor of Layton City in 1994, he immediately recognized the positive economic and social impact of Hill Air Force Base on the surrounding communities of the installation. He has become a remarkable advocate for the mission of the base and a strong supporter for Team Hill workers. 

During his twelve years as Layton City Mayor he extended his personal welcome and friendship to all the commanders and continues to do so today. Serving on the Utah Defense Alliance, he has been an invaluable asset to the process of improving and promoting Hill Air Force Base's national importance. For a very long time Jerry has envisioned partnering Hill Air Force Base with private industry, from developing the east side of the base to the announced and imminent development on the base's west side.
Jerry's exceptional and visionary leadership as a Hill Wingman has benefitted not only the Air Force and Team Hill, but also the citizens of Utah and the citizens of this nation.

Mr. Steve Rush

"I love working with the military due to the caliber of people and the amount of energy every time we meet," said Mr. Steve Rush.

Steve Rush is a proud supporter of Hill Air Force Base. His association began in 1993, when he led the efforts to protect and preserve the airspace surrounding Hill Air Force Base to ensure the operational mission of the base continued unimpeded. This ultimately required a legislative appropriation of over 15 million dollars. 

He was invited to join Hill/Defense Depot Ogden '95, a Utah citizen committee dedicated to defending Hill AFB and the depot during Base Realignment and Closure in 1995. 

Steve played a critical role to Hill AFB on many fronts. He testified before Congress and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the importance of the flying and test missions conducted on the Utah Test and Training Range. He led the fight on any encroachment that would hamper the full utilization of the installation and the base. Steve also served as Vice President of the Utah Defense Alliance and is dedicated to preserving and protecting Department of Defense national assets--military ranges and the Utah Test and Training Range in particular. 

As a tireless supporter of Hill AFB, everything Steve has done for the Air Force and Hill are perfect examples of what it means to live the Air Force's Core Values. He is a true Wingman.

Mrs. Debra (Deb) Tanzi

Deb Tanzi's long history with the U.S. Air Force is admirable. She was born into the Air Force lifestyle and is a staunch supporter of all branches of service. She is an Air Force wife and mother; her lifelong volunteer endeavors resulted in positive impacts on military activities and families across the nation. 

Whether she was fundraising, organizing events or lending assistance to a family member, her efforts have touched countless lives. She worked tirelessly to organize the Military Affairs Committee for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, she has been a leader of the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee for many years. 

Deb led a team of military and community volunteers for the 2006 Davis County Gala. The "Salute to our Hometown Heroes" recognized active duty, Guard, Reserve and military retirees representing their hometown cities in Davis and Weber Counties. This was the most successful gala to date, raising more than $100,000 for a donation to Hill AFB to purchase equipment for the new fitness center. 

Deb Tanzi epitomizes the Wingman! She is a perfect example of one of the core values, Service Before Self. 

"It is truly an honor to work so often with these fine people in this community," said General Close.

Dave Tanzi, husband to Deb Tanzi, accepted the award on her behalf.

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