Airman Spotlight- Alan & Stephanie Hughes, Hero behind the Hero

Hughes Family

Hughes Family

MADISON, Wis. --

It’s no secret that the 115th Fighter Wing has incredible Airmen who live outstanding lives outside of the uniform. But what about the heroes behind the heroes?

Staff Sergeant Alan Hughes, 115FW Crew Chief, was recently featured on a commercial aired during this year’s Superbowl LV, titled “Essential” Feb. 7, 2021.

Alan has been a member of the Air National Guard for almost seven years, participating in several short stateside deployments and a three month tour in Afghanistan in 2019. All the while, his wife Stephanie held down the fort back at home.

“Steph took on everything that goes along with harvest during the fall of 2019 when I was in Afghanistan and was probably looking forward to not having to do that again,” said Alan. “Unfortunately, that would not be the case.”

This year has been unusually busy for our traditional guardsmen and Staff Sgt. Hughes has done his part in support of the state’s missions. He participated in the support for the election in April, provided services in a call center for the COVID-19 relief efforts, was activated to Kenosha Wisconsin for riot control, and was sent to Washington DC to support military efforts during the inauguration. On top of all of the work he is doing militarily, Alan recently accepted a full-time position as a teacher’s aide at a Cooperative Education Service Agency school in Vespar, Wisconsin where he had originally been working part-time.

“When I was called away from home again during the spring of 2020 in support of the COVID-19 relief mission, Stephanie not only had to face long hours in a tractor cab doing field work and do all the daily milking and chores that goes along with a large dairy farm,” said Alan. “But she also had two young boys who needed help with virtual schooling while a jealous three-year-old brother competed for attention. 

Hughes owns a 55-dairy cow farm with his wife Stephanie in Pittsville, Wisconsin where they are raising three young boys Bryce (10), Gavin (9), and Derek (3). Stephanie is the primary day-to-day operator of the farm and Alan helps wherever he can repairing any equipment as necessary and being as involved as possible with the crop and feed management.

“We are very proud of our farmstead in Pittsville, Wisconsin,” said Stephanie. “Alan and I both grew up on dairy farms so our passion for agriculture is in our blood.”

Hughes and his wife both grew up in central Wisconsin but his family originated from the east coast where many of his family members still reside. His cousin, Gareth Hughes, moved from New Jersey to New York and has been a Creative Director for CBS Sports for several years.

A few years ago Gareth and his family visited the Hughes’ farm to witness their daily grind so when Gareth’s team started brainstorming who they wanted to feature in their segment it was a no-brainer.

“Essential” is a tribute and celebration of the people who are essential and kept life going through the pandemic featuring 12 different occupations and locations across the United States. Gareth jumped on the opportunity to recommend a farmer he knows and loves.

“Farmers often get overlooked or forgotten even though they provide the food on your table,” said Stephanie. “So when we were considered for this piece it was humbling. We were grateful agriculture made the list as essential.”

According to the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin agriculture is a big economic driver contributing $104.8 billion annually to our state's economy. Food processing activity contributes $82.7 billion to industrial sales. The state is home to 64,793 farms on 14.3 million acres and the average farm size in Wisconsin is 221 acres. That is a lot of land to maintain with just two people let alone when Stephanie has to do it on her own.

“While I do not consider myself to be a hero at all it was very humbling to be asked to represent so many whom I do feel are heroes,” said Alan. “I am thankful for the opportunity to tell the world a little bit of my wife's story, whom I do feel is a hero because of all the responsibilities that she must shoulder whenever the ANG asks me to be away from home.”

Through wind and rain, snow and summer heat, farmers have a job and there are not many chances for a break.

“The work on every farm must be done 365 days a year, pandemic or not,” said Stephanie. “Unfortunately, our industry and markets have been significantly affected by the pandemic but that does not change how we care for our land and animals on a day to day basis.”

These words ring true among many other farmers around the world and it’s time they are recognized for their efforts.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Department of the Air Force does not exercise any responsibility or oversight of the content at external link destination.

The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the United States Department of Defense of linked web sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation sites, the United States Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. All links are provided consistent with the mission of this web site.