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Altus community leaders speak at U-Night on overcoming obstacles

people pose for group photo

Altus community leaders pose for a group photo at a U-Night Leadership workshop at the Southwest Technology Center in Altus, Oklahoma, June 3, 2021. The guest speakers showcased their presentations in a style called “Pecha Kucha” which is a presentation containing 20 slides that each show for 20 seconds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

person speaks at event

Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay II, 97th Air Mobility Wing command chief, speaks at a U-Night Leadership workshop at the Southwest Technology Center in Altus, Oklahoma, June 3, 2021. Kay spoke about his journey in the Air Force and how he reached his ultimate goal, to become a chief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

two people sign paper

Master Sgt. Raymond Sinclair-West, 97th Force Support Squadron (FSS) readiness non-commissioned officer, and Master Sgt. Keaton Pate, 97th FSS section chief, sign in at a U-Night Leadership workshop at the Southwest Technology Center in Altus, Oklahoma, June 3, 2021. More than 40 attendees listened to guest speakers talking about leadership and overcoming obstacles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

person speaks at podium

Staci Kirby, co-founder and executive director of the Amethyst House, gives a speech at a U-Night Leadership workshop at the Southwest Technology Center in Altus, Oklahoma, June 3, 2021. Kirby is over five years sober and continues to help people by providing housing for homeless and recovering addicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Altus Air Force Base and Jackson County Memorial Hospital (JCMH) hosted the third U-Night workshop titled “Leadership: Overcoming Obstacles” on June 3, 2021, at the Southwest Technology Center in Altus.

Four local leaders provided words of advice and inspiration by sharing life stories about overcoming obstacles. 

Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay II, 97th Air Mobility Wing command chief, explained his favorite inspirational quote by Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face,” has stuck with him throughout life’s hardships.

“Everyone faces obstacles and some can be big, others can be little. Take that first step and have the tools to overcome those obstacles, no matter what life throws at you,” said Kay.

Staci Kirby, co-founder and executive director of the Amethyst House, spoke about her struggles with drugs, trauma and how she persevered to eventually open the Amethyst House, which provides safe and sober housing for 17 women.

“Today, I'm blessed to serve on several committees locally, addressing the needs of those in our communities who may be disenfranchised or struggling with issues such as substance abuse and homelessness,” said Kirby.  

Chief Master Sgt. Laura Hoover, 97th Operations Group superintendent, delivered a speech about what drove her to join the U.S. Air Force and how she stayed determined to be the best. 

“Tell me no and I will figure out how to get to yes,” said Hoover. “I stick with my faith, lean on people all around to help me push me and take that no as a challenge, and quickly learn how to turn the impossible into possible.”

Master Sgt. Raymond Sinclair-West, 97th Force Support Squadron readiness non-commissioned officer, attended the workshop to support Chief Hoover and learn more about being a successful leader. 

“A lot of our Airmen are leading others at a much earlier stage in their career than we did,” said Sinclair-West. “So it's important that we share those qualities to make sure that they are ready or as ready as they can be for those opportunities.” 

The final speaker, Dr. Joe Leverett, M.D., Internal Medicine Specialist, shared stories about personal struggles he has endured in the medical field as well as his personal life. 

“While there are obstacles out there, and there are challenges, I would challenge you,” said Leverett. “What are you doing to help? What are you doing to become a better leader? What are you doing to be a better follower?”

U-Night workshops are free, quarterly workshops available to community members and Airmen. The next U-Night workshop will be August 5, 2021. The topic will be overcoming addiction, hosted by Staci Kirby.

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