MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. --
Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do are the core values Airmen are expected to live by in the Air Force. Recently, one Airman exemplified these qualities while attending Airman leadership school at the Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center here.
Senior Airman Kirk Rogers, a services journeyman with the 184th Force Support Squadron at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, came to East Tennessee to earn his ALS certificate, but after learning the dining facility was under staffed he did not hesitate to offer a helping hand.
“I was walking down to the DFAC one day and ran into Senior Master Sgt. Joel Anderson, the sustainment services flight superintendent at the 134th Air Refueling Wing here, and he mentioned they were down about eight or nine people. When I heard that I said I would be happy to come in and help when I wasn’t in class,” Rogers said. “The next day I started helping out when I could. It just took off from there.”
While working lunches and dinner, Rogers said he was impressed with the enlisted and state workers at the facility.
“They made it really easy to fit in and adapt to their particular style of food service, and I’ve learned a lot from them,” he said. “Honestly, I’m really going to miss all of them. I’ve really made some good friends over there.”
Not only did Rogers volunteer various mealtimes to help the DFAC staff, but he also spent his breaks between classes and after hours teaching classes as an instructor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Social Sciences in the School of Arts and Science at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma. Classes at the school started while Rogers was here, and he wanted to make sure he was still able to fulfill his obligations to his civilian job.
When Rogers first arrived, he approached Master Sgt. Amie Taylor-Laws, the superintendent of operations of ALS here, about teaching his college classes while attending EPME.
“I was very fortunate that Master Sgt. Taylor-Laws was so receptive to the idea,” he said. “And I was so grateful for my instructor, Staff Sgt. Courtney Dayton, who would let me out of class to go and Zoom my students so I could teach my classes back home.”
Dayton, an EPME instructor here, believes Rogers has shown the whole Airman concept in and out of uniform for the short time she’s known him.
“While attending ALS, he has gone above and beyond not only putting forth his best effort in the classroom, but also as a college professor,” she said. “He quite literally lives by the quote ‘student by day, teacher by night.’ He has submitted assignments well before the deadlines showing that the mission takes precedence.”
Dayton also believes Rogers exemplified service before self and excellence while keeping his humility in check.
“He has not once bragged, or searched for recognition. In fact I had no clue just how much he had been helping out in the DFAC until recently,” she said. “Many students stand out to me in this ALS class, however, Senior Airman Rogers definitely has exhibited the core values in more than just one way.”
During his graduation, Rogers was lauded by Col. Roxanne Toy, I. G. Brown Training and Education Center commander, and was coined by a representative from the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education.
“To me [your volunteerism] is remarkable in itself, but not just that, but everything you stand for,” said Toy. “You take the lead and the chances you get to mentor up, down and lateral. To me that’s the whole Airmen concept.”