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Staff Sgt. Casey Anderson is one of the Air Force Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2013.
Staff Sgt. Casey Anderson demonstrates the head tilt, chin lift technique during a basic life support class July 12 at the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Anderson, one of this year’s Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen, is a mental health and neuropsychology technician at the 59th Medical Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma)
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59th MDW Outstanding Airman strives to make a difference

Posted 8/13/2013   Updated 8/13/2013 Email story   Print story


by Alexis Culver
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

8/13/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas  -- A mental health technician from the 59th Medical Wing was recently recognized as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

Staff Sgt. Casey L. Anderson's achievement is another recognition added to her list as one of the command's outstanding enlisted Airmen of the year for 2013, Air Education and Training Command's Mental Health Airman of the Year, and the 59th MDW Airman of the Year.

The Outstanding Airman of the Year award recognizes 12 honorees selected for their superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements by an Air Force selection board at the Air Force Personnel Center.

"General Hepburn, myself and the entire 59th MDW team are absolutely honored to have the privilege to serve alongside such a phenomenal Airman as Staff Sgt. Anderson," said Chief Master Sgt. Maurice James, 59th Medical Wing command chief. "She is an incredible mental health technician, but an even more amazing Airman, who totally embraces the whole person concept that the Air Force ardently desires of its Airmen."

"I believe she is the right choice to represent the 59th MDW, AETC, the Air Force Medical Service and the Air Force, and without a doubt she's doing an outstanding job," he added.

Since being recognized as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen, Anderson continues to receive support from her family, friends, leaders, peers and patients.

"It has actually humbled me to make sure I'm representing the Air Force and mental health in a positive light," Anderson said. "It puts pressure on to make sure that you're just that much more on top of your game, which isn't a bad thing, it's a challenge."

One challenge Anderson is facing since the recognition is breaking the stigma associated with seeking mental help.

"Mental health use to have a stigma," Anderson said. "People think there are huge ramifications to seeking help and that's simply not the case. There has been a huge shift in our culture, and I want all our Airmen to know that it's ok to seek help."

Giving back to her community is also important to Anderson. For over two years, Anderson has been coaching approximately 30 children in a cheer and tumbling program she created at the youth center on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

She is also passionate about briefing Airmen on suicide prevention at the First Term Airman Course, the hospital newcomer's orientation, and to other 59th MDW units.

Anderson's efforts to help others, both on and off duty, are catching the attention of her supervisors.

"She earned it, by no means was it given," said Staff Sgt. Navon Martin, NCO in charge of Specialty Services at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center. "She's very passionate about everything she does. We get compliments all the time on how well she does from the different areas she briefs."

Anderson will receive the award in September at the annual Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C.

"I want to use this as more than just an award," Anderson said. "I feel I can make a change and I'm in a position to do so. If I use my words and actions wisely, a piece of my voice will make a difference."

"I just want to say thank you," she added. "I know this opportunity wouldn't have been given without the support of those around me and I am so grateful. I've realized the opportunities and blessings I've received from my leadership and from people in the hospital. So many people have contributed to this and I couldn't have done this by myself."

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