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Peoria recruiting, retention team wins regional awards

Seen from left are U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chad N. Jackson, Tech. Sgt. Stephen I.N. Graves, Master Sgt. John R. Howe, Master Sgt. Candy L. Howe and Staff Sgt. Darrin C. Kesler of the 182nd Force Support Squadron at the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Ill., Jan. 13, 2014. The team won the Regional Patriot Team Award for their work as the wing's recruiting and retention team. John Howe, the wing's retention manager, was awarded Outstanding Retention Manager of the Year. Their efforts led to the Illinois Air National Guard wing’s manning reaching 100.2 percent, a re-enlistment rate of 86 percent and an 89 percent airmen retention rate in 2013. The team’s community involvement included helping local organizations’ missions to help special needs children and providing job coaching for at-risk youth. The airmen will now compete for the national-level awards. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lealan Buehrer/Released. Image was cropped to emphasize the subjects.)

Seen from left are U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chad N. Jackson, Tech. Sgt. Stephen I.N. Graves, Master Sgt. John R. Howe, Master Sgt. Candy L. Howe and Staff Sgt. Darrin C. Kesler of the 182nd Force Support Squadron at the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Ill., Jan. 13, 2014. The team won the Regional Patriot Team Award for their work as the wing's recruiting and retention team. John Howe, the wing's retention manager, was awarded Outstanding Retention Manager of the Year. Their efforts led to the Illinois Air National Guard wing’s manning reaching 100.2 percent, a re-enlistment rate of 86 percent and an 89 percent airmen retention rate in 2013. The team’s community involvement included helping local organizations’ missions to help special needs children and providing job coaching for at-risk youth. The airmen will now compete for the national-level awards. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lealan Buehrer/Released. Image was cropped to emphasize the subjects.)

PEORIA, Ill. -- Four recruiters and a retention manager from the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Ill., received regional-level awards Jan. 2, 2014 for job excellence, leadership and community involvement.

Their efforts led to the Illinois Air National Guard wing's staffing reaching 100.2 percent, a re-enlistment rate of 86 percent and an 89 percent airmen retention rate in 2013. The team's community involvement included assisting local organizations' missions to help special needs children and providing job coaching for at-risk youth.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Candy L. Howe, Tech. Sgt. Chad N. Jackson, Tech. Sgt. Stephen I.N. Graves and Staff Sgt. Darrin C. Kesler of the Force Support Squadron serve as the recruiting team, where they assist recruits in the process of joining the Illinois Air National Guard. They and retention manager Master Sgt. John R. Howe received the Regional Patriot Team Award for their success in accomplishing the unit's mission.

John Howe also won the Outstanding Retention Manager of the Year award. He is responsible for enabling wing members to achieve career goals through counseling and education, and for helping keep quality personnel in the wing that satisfy the strength requirements of the unit and state.

Col. William P. Robertson, commander of the 182nd Airlift Wing, said he has a great unit because of the recruiting and retention team's outstanding work, and that the job they do is the foundation of assembling citizen airmen to serve the community and the nation.

"The citizens of Illinois should be very proud to be represented by such fine team," said Robertson. "I am very proud of their efforts. They are the best and continue to prove it time and time again."

The recruiting and retention team will now compete for the national-level titles. They additionally received the State Award for Most Accessions by Wing, Fourth Quarter Region 2 Wing with Top Accessions, and Retention Office Manager of the Year for Illinois Air National Guard for fiscal year 2013.