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Wisconsin Airman, chaplains assistant uses her faith to serve others

Wisconsin Airman, chaplains assistant uses her faith to serve others

Lt. Col. Alfred Nicholson, operations branch chief for the National Guard Bureau Chaplains Office, left, and Col. Pat Volk, 115th Fighter Wing vice commander, present Staff Sgt. Mary Ann Buchholtz from the 115th with the 2009 Air National Guard Outstanding Chaplain Assistant Award on Nov. 6, 2011. (National Guard photo by TSgt Ashley Bell/Released)

MADISON, Wis. -- Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Alfred M. Nicholson recently traveled to Truax Field's 115th Fighter Wing from National Guard Bureau to award the Air National Guard Outstanding Chaplain Assistant award to Staff Sgt. Mary Ann Buchholtz.

Buchholtz, of Belvadier, Ill., serves more than 1,000 Airmen of the 115th FW as a chaplains assistant. Buckholtz joined the unit in 2001 and has taken her role very seriously.
"Buchholtz is an unsung hero," said Chaplain (Maj.) James Chizek, 115th FW chaplain. "She quietly goes about her tasks, drill after drill, accomplishing her piece of the mission pie. The drill ends, dishes done, and she returns home with little to no fanfare."

As a chaplain's assistant, Bucholtz serves as a highly trained and qualified chaplain's assistant who offers advice to leaders at all levels on spiritual, ethical and moral issues. Also, in the area of crisis intervention, Buckholtz has the capability of mediating in crisis to individuals -- most effectively in the realm of other enlisted personnel.

"What the award represents is service over and beyond expectations and duty, superior performance and sustainment of that performance," Nicholson said. "She commits herself to any and every task and she works at things until it's complete - and not just done, but done with excellence."

Buchholtz served many wounded Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen while deployed to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC), Germany. She spent her time visiting the wards, gaining "target acquisition" for potential chaplain visits and distributing inspirational literature in a sprawling U.S. military medical complex.

Effective Dec. 1, Buchholtz will be promoted to technical sergeant. Nicholson, who served with Buckholtz in Germany, says her promotion is no surprise.

"She has a very, very strong faith. It's in her speech, her posture, the very way she carries herself," Nicholson said. "I was highly impressed and she's even more outstanding than the time that I knew her." Chizek, who works with Buckholtz every drill at the fighter wing and sees where the drive comes from as well.

"When Mary Ann spoke at the award ceremony, she emphasized again and again how the love of Christ strengthened her and flowed through her, often without words," Chizek said.

Buckholtz seems to have a great faith and passion in what she does. Those are characteristics that benefit Airmen here, as well as anywhere she goes.

"I have great admiration for her," said Nicholson. "I would serve with her anywhere at any time."
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