Georgia Air Guard member wins Major General Eugene A. Lupia Award
By Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons, 116th Air Control Wing
/ Published January 06, 2021
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Staff Sgt. Travis Shelley, with the 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, was recognized for superior service as the recipient of the 2020 Major General Eugene A. Lupia award in the Airman category for the Air National Guard.
Shelley earned the Air Force civil engineer annual award for his work as a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician with the 116th Civil Engineer Squadron, as well as his service responding to Georgia National Guard COVID-19 relief operations.
“When I found out I was chosen for this award, it was a big deal for me to be able to represent the 116th Civil Engineer Squadron and shed a positive light on the unit,” said Shelley.
While serving the community as part of a COVID-19 infection control team at a long-term care facility in Fort Valley, Georgia, Shelley responded to a fire in the kitchen of the facility. He quickly extinguished the fire and ensured residents were evacuated, preventing loss of life and property damage.
“I’ve received annual fire extinguisher training for 14 years in the Guard,” said Shelley. “It felt great to be able to use the training I’ve received in the Guard to keep everyone safe.”
Throughout the year, Shelley’s expertise saved the wing tens of thousands of dollars in labor costs and contributed to the overall Joint STARS mission. As an infection control team member, he installed sanitation stations and disinfected facilities throughout the wing, facilitating 122 sorties and 545 E-8C Joint STARS flight hours.
“Staff Sgt. Shelley serves our community and country with distinction,” said Lt. Col. Tasha Folds, commander of the 116th Civil Engineer Squadron. “He is brave, has a strong work ethic, and an undeniable positive attitude. He has shown resilience over the years and has overcome setbacks with amazing dignity and growth leading to the NCO he is today. I’d absolutely go to war with him.”
Joining the Georgia Air National Guard in 2006, Shelley told his recruiter he wanted a career field that would provide opportunities both in the Guard and as a civilian.
“When I was with the recruiter and saw the HVAC career field, I felt like it was a trade I could learn and use as a civilian as well,” said Shelley. “It’s challenging at times, but very rewarding. I’ve been able to use the electrical troubleshooting training I received in the Guard on my civilian job.”
“In the Georgia Air National Guard, I get to serve and wear the uniform just like the active duty components but still be at home,” said Shelley. “That’s very important to me because I’m married and have a six-year-old. Being at home to help care for my family is a major plus for me.”
Shelley will now represent the Air National Guard at the Air Force level civil engineer awards.