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AF announces 2017 BIG Meritorious Service Award recipients

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force officials recently named the winners for the 2017 Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award.

The award honors military members and Defense Department civilian employees who have supported military missions or overseas contingency operations, or whose attributes best epitomize the qualities and core values of their service branch or other DOD component.

The 2017 distinguished recipients were:

- Master Sgt. Shamonte S. Saunders, Operations and Plans superintendent, 5th Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan, Pacific Air Forces.

- Myra L. Evans-Manyweather, Support Agreement Manager Program analyst, 502nd Air Base Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston, Air Education and Training Command.

- Capt. Kruz B. Oliver, Space Based Infrared System Requirements lead, Headquarters, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Air Force Space Command.

Saunders promoted an all-inclusive working environment through transparent mentorship as he prepared personnel for growth and development based on individuals’ merits and needs. His actions improved unit productivity and led the command in fly-away security mission support. Additionally, his leadership was vital to his subordinates earning two command-level and two wing-level awards. Finally, Saunders fused Green Dot and sexual assault prevention strategies to protect the Air Force’s most important resource: its Airmen. This program enabled the wing and his unit to leverage in-house resources while affording personnel an opportunity to acquire new skills, highlighting Saunders’ commitment to investing the necessary time and resources in unit personnel to enable career broadening and advancement.

Evans-Manyweather’s superb leadership and dedication to service were crucial to the management of the 502nd Air Base Wing’s $38 million reimbursable intra-/inter-service support agreement program, terminating 47 of 69 expired and superseded agreements, consolidating 15 into five and improving currency rate by 40 percent. On- and off-duty, Evans-Manyweather lives out her personal mantra, "start where you are.” She became a published author in July 2016. In her book, “Start Where You Are: My Journey from Childhood Poverty to Passionate Entrepreneur,” she shares personal trials and triumphs in overcoming discrimination and eliminating barriers that hinder equal opportunities in what she refers to as “underserved communities.” Additionally, she volunteered more than 20 hours facilitating focus groups to gain actionable data from participants to help find the root cause of the tendency of former offenders to reoffend within a one- to three-year period after release.

Oliver promoted the tenets of civil rights by chairing Peterson AFB’s Black History Month Events. His commitment to honoring history’s African American leaders culminated in a 5K run, six hours of cultural education to 35 toddlers at two Child Development Centers and a ceremonial showcase of significant moments in American history. In these efforts, Oliver led 11 members from the base and local community, and solicited support from three civic organizations to honor the contributions of women and minorities. Oliver also advanced human rights by volunteering with The Food Bank of the Rockies and Project Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment to deliver 130,000 meals to more than 500 hunger-relief programs, and more than 250,000 unused medical supplies to families and children in 130 different countries. Lastly, he promoted the development of Defense Department personnel by partnering with the local medical group and Worchester Polytechnic Institute to provide training to the directorate’s service members.

For more information about Air Force personnel programs, go to myPers. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following these instructions.

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