KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Staff Sgt. Rashawn Thompson, 81st Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician, is the Air Force’s 2018 GEICO Military Service Award recipient.
Awarded annually to one member from each of the five armed services branches, the award recognizes a service member’s contributions to health and safety issues in their local and military communities.
Thompson’s work focuses on drug and alcohol abuse prevention. Out of Keesler’s 18 mental health technicians, Thompson is the only nationally certified psychiatric technician.
During his time at Keesler, Thompson supported 12 mental health providers with providing patient care to approximately 9,000 beneficiaries. Additionally, he facilitated instructing more than 765 students through weekly Drunk Busters and Peer to Peer education on substance use.
Thompson attributed winning this award as a team effort.
“I believe I won simply because my leadership believed in me,” said Thompson. “They spent a lot of time putting together my package, making sure I was doing the things that I needed to do and making sure my passion was directed in the right direction.”
Tech. Sgt. Anna Coker, 81st MDOS mental health technician NCO in charge, said she nominated Thompson for the award because he goes above and beyond each day.
“His ability to help the patients through their times of need is a true testament of why I nominated him,” said Coker. “Every patient speaks highly of the care. [Sergeant] Thompson has always gone above and beyond throughout his career, and I am happy to see him recognized for his hard work.”
She added that Thompson’s impact on the alcohol and drug abuse prevention program contributed to Keesler winning the 2017 Air Force Surgeon General’s Best Hospital of the Year.
Thompson says it’s nice to be recognized for his work, but the most fulfilling part is helping others.
“The most rewarding part for me is listening to someone who is struggling, and helping them walk out of the door better than they walked in,” he said. “It feels good knowing that something I did or said helped them through a tough time.”
A singer at heart, Thompson didn’t know his voice would be used to help people in a clinic setting, but he always knew it was a powerful tool. He credits the Air Force for helping him find a way to continue using his voice for good.
“I’ve always loved singing. My voice made people laugh, my voice made people sing, and my voice made people clap. Transitioning into the military, my voice still does that, it just does it in a different way. It soothes, it calms and it brings things into perspective. It may not be over a [music] beat, but it still makes people feel something,” said Thompson.