News: Both Air and Army Guard Family of the Year are Awarded
Story by Staff Sgt. Billie Jo Lorius
BISMARCK, N.D. - Both the Air and Army Guard Family of the Year were honored today at a volunteer luncheon that took place at the Adjutant General's Symposium on Families at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck. Each year, a family is chosen from each branch of service that has served the military community in an outstanding capacity. The two families were nominated by their peers due to their support of the Guard as well as their activities and volunteer efforts.
Tech. Sgt. Francisco "Frank" Gonzalez and Senior Airman Kelly Gonzalez, of Minot, received Air Guard Family of the Year and Sgt 1st Class Richard and Tess Haugen, of Dickinson, received Army Guard Family of the Year. The Gonzalez family was unable to attend due to participation in the flood fight efforts, but the Haugen family was on hand to receive the award.
Presenting the award was Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota National Guard adjutant general. He said, "These awards are to recognize families that have gone above and beyond. Thank you for all you do for our military. Families are a huge reason why we are able to be successful as an organization."
Frank Gonzalez is currently assigned as the non-commissioned officer in charge of training for the 219th Security Forces Squadron located at Minot Air Force Base. According to the Gonzalez nomination form, "Frank constantly seeks greater responsibilities within the squadron and strives to enhance his already immense professional knowledge base. The family significantly volunteers time and efforts in helping out squadron members during times of need. Numerous examples include moving, snow removal, home repairs and chaperoning field trips for children. This family's selfless service and sacrifices have been instrumental without measure in ensuring the success of a complex and difficult nuclear security mission." Frank and Kelly Gonzalez volunteer numerous hours to help other Airmen and participate in
professional events to enhance the overall image of the Guard.
"I was definitely surprised by the award. For Kelly and I to be recognized for our contribution is not only gratifying, but also humbling because we work with so many amazing Airmen and families," said Tech. Sgt. Francisco Gonzalez.
Commander of 219th SFS, Lt. Col. Tad Schauer, said, "It is important that we recognize our Airmen and their families for their contributions. The fact that the 219th Security Forces Squadron has had a family receive this prestigious award two years in a row speaks volumes about the high caliber of Airmen in our organization. Both Francisco and Kelly are excellent examples of outstanding Hooligans."
Army Guard winner, Sgt. 1st Class Richard Haugen, member of the 816th Engineer Company, and his wife and three children were nominated due to their positive impact on their community and care and concern demonstrated for Soldiers. According to the nomination form, "Richard volunteers for additional duties to include: Suicide Intervention Officer, Casualty Notification Officer, Equal Opportunity Representative as well as teaching "mini-lessons" to local Elementary School students. Joining Richard in demonstrating genuine care and concern is his wife Tess. As the leader of the Family Readiness Group, she has been instrumental in organizing activities for the Soldiers', spouses' and children year-round. Care, concern, devotion and training are all great attributes for one to have. Finding a family where these attributes are shared by all, make them a great choice."
Haugen said he and his family were honored to be recognized. "It means a lot to us. We are in this together. It's all about being part of a great National Guard family," he said.