Top ANG safety award goes to 115th FW Airmen

  • Published
  • By Capt. Suzanne VanderWeyst
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Tim Butcher, former chief of safety, was presented the highest Air National Guard safety award, the ANG Director of Safety Outstanding Safety Achievement Award, during the August UTA. 

Also known as the "Safety Heisman" for its similar stature, the award recognizes a field unit individual for outstanding ANG safety program management contributions or achievements during the fiscal year. For 2008, Colonel Butcher stood out among the spectrum of eligible personnel including officers, colonel and below, enlisted and civilian employees of the Air National Guard, state ANG structure and Department of the Air Force. 

Though the award is presented in name to one person, Colonel Butcher says what it represents, a wing culture of safety, is only possible by many. 

"The true drivers for our commitment to safety are Col. Joe Brandemuehl, our Wing Commander, Senior Master Sgt. Tom Egstad, the wing safety NCOIC and the individual who runs the safety shop, and Tech. Sgt. Jason Kasten, who was added to the shop in 2008," said Colonel Butcher. "Those guys are the impetus behind our (safety) culture. I just helped deliver the message." 

The preparation the wing safety team went through to get safety programs and culture to a level of national recognition started back in December 2007. With major inspections from the Air Force and civilian sectors, and the achievement of the Star rating in Voluntary Protection Program, this has been a very demanding, stressful and rewarding process for our safety professionals, stated Chief Master Sgt. Mark Petty. 

"We could not have accomplished all this if we did not have outstanding guardsmen and additional manpower provided by the Wing Commander," said Sergeant Egstad in reference to the addition of a second fulltime wing safety position. 

Sergeant Egstad also said the success of the last 20 months would not be possible if they didn't have the unit safety representatives' support. Even as an additional duty, he said it is clear they take it seriously. 

"They're out in the field, in the offices, making sure that all the documentation and inspection items are all squared away," said Sergeant Egstad. 

With two full-time enlisted positions and one traditional, held by Chief Petty, the wing safety team is driven to move forward, building on the success of its achievements during Colonel Butcher's leadership.