19th ARG wins annual community service award

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th ABW/PA
The 19th Air Refueling Group was named as the 2007 Community Service Award recipient June 21 by the Warner Robins Military Affairs Committee of the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce.

"The 19th came out on top. It was very, very close and as you can imagine all the units do some great things for the community," said Terry Smith, military affairs committee chairman.

The Black Knights have earned the award three times since 2000 for their efforts to preserve and enhance the relationship between the civilian community of Warner Robins and the base community.

"This is our way of recognizing them and thanking them for what they do," Mr. Smith said. "It is a real pleasure to be able to see that kind of demonstration of community service."

The 19th Air Refueling Group's commitment to community service is not about earning a trophy, but instead about repaying the local community for their support of their Airmen both here at home and when they are deployed, said Lt. Col. Blaine Holt, acting commander of the 19th ARG.

"It is nice to be recognized with a trophy and it's always good for our members to receive recognition for their efforts, but it wouldn't change our commitment to the community either way, with or without a trophy," he said.

Colonel Holt said the community service legacy of the Black Knights is not something members of the group take lightly.

"Due to our history here since 1967 there have been thousands of Black Knights and their families who have settled here in Middle Georgia. Our role in the community is an understanding that goes without saying," Colonel Holt said.

He added that by serving the local community, members of the Black Knights also benefit because anything that bolsters and supports the local community affects the Black Knights who call Middle Georgia home.

"We have a duty to the community that comes with an assignment here. We also have a duty to continue to preserve the relationship that has existed here since the '60s," Colonel Holt said.

Colonel Holt said the Black Knights promise the community their final year at Robins before their deactivation in May of 2008 will include the same level of community service the local area has seen from the Black Knights during their tenure here.

"It has always been a goal (to serve the community) and it's not going to change this last year," Colonel Holt said.

Mr. Smith said it is always tough to choose the top unit because all the units are generous to the Warner Robins community through service projects.

"We think it is important to recognize what members of the units at Robins do as a community service. All the members in the units are doing things for the community," Mr. Smith said.

Though the Black Knights were presented with a trophy for their contributions to the community during a ceremony at Museum of Aviation's Vistascope Theater, the contributions to the Warner Robins community of both the runners-up - the 580th Aircraft Sustainment Group and the 330th Aircraft Sustainment Wing - are impressive as well, Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Smith said the military affairs committee would welcome more applications from base units for the Community Service Award next year.

"We would like more units to get involved in the recognition process, because we want to recognize more units and their roles in the community," Mr. Smith said.