109th Airmen selected as NYANG Airmen of the Year
By Tech. Sgt. Catharine Schmidt, 109th AW Public Affairs
/ Published January 28, 2016
STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Two Airmen with the 109th Airlift Wing were recently selected among six as the New York Air National Guard's 2015 Outstanding Airman of the Year.
Senior Master Sgt. Deborah Nordyke, 109th Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, and Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Mahan, 109th Medical Group cardiopulmonary lab technician, were selected as the NYANG First Sergeant of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) of the Year, respectively.
"This is a major accomplishment for SMSgt Nordyke and TSgt Mahan," said Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th AW command chief. "Their personal character, devotion to duty, and leadership performance have led them to be highlighted as the New York Air National Guard's best of the best."
Nordyke, who is a substitute teacher on the civilian side, has served as the 109th MXS first sergeant for more than three years and said the job has been very rewarding. According to her biography, Nordyke is responsible for matters influencing the health, morale and welfare, and professional development of more than 200 Airmen assigned to the squadron.
Nordyke said the support she has received from her family, the base and the teaching community have helped contribute to her selection as the NYANG First Sergeant of the Year.
"She was chosen because she was a dedicated first sergeant for the largest squadron within the 109th," said Lt. Col. Ty Randall, 109th Maintenance Group deputy commander. "She is committed to the morale and welfare of Airmen within the squadron and across the wing. She was very active and engaged in programs and councils that had direct impact on families and careers of our Airmen."
Mahan is a respiratory therapist on the civilian side at both Ellis Hospital and the Stratton VA Medical Center. She's currently completing prerequisites at Hudson Valley Community College so she can apply for Physician Assistant school, with a goal of obtaining a commission.
Mahan said being selected as NCO of the Year at both the wing level and state level has been a very humbling experience.
"I couldn't believe it - it was definitely unexpected," she said. "I feel like there are tons of people who are out here working hard and do just as much as me if not more."
Mahan is currently the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Critical Care Air Transport Team. According to her biography, she is one of six fully trained cardiopulmonary lab technicians qualified to fly on the medical flying team and assists in transporting and furthering the care of the most critically ill and injured patients in the world.
"This spring I did a CCAT deployment to Germany," she said. "It was invaluable. It was really rewarding because you're bringing people home to their families, all while learning so much from the people you work with."
"TSgt Mahan is a true leader and has a fierce work ethic," said Capt. Elizabeth McNamara, 109th MDG. "She is a valued commodity to our CCAT team. I enjoy working with her, and we're proud to have her in our unit."
"TSgt Mahan is dedicated to the mission and strives to improve our effectiveness and capabilities," said Lt. Col. Brett Wood, 109th MDG. "She is an asset to CCATT, the 109th MDG, and the NYANG."
Mahan and Nordyke will join the other 109th AW Airmen of the Year to be recognized at the annual Airman of the Year Dinner in April. The other Wing Airmen of the Year for 2015 are:
- Senior Airman Thomas Gallagher, 109th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron - Airman of the Year
- Senior Master Sgt. Karl Burghart, 109th Maintenance Squadron - Senior NCO of the Year
- Capt. Joseph Ryan, 109th MDG - Company Grade Officer of the Year
Nordyke and Mahan will compete for the 2015 Air National Guard Outstanding Airmen of the Year.