Keesler Airman receives 2019 Military Volunteer of the Year award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Spencer Tobler
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Every year the City of Biloxi recognizes individuals who have volunteered their time and had a positive impact on the local community

One of those individuals was Senior Airman Michael Padgett, 81st Communications Squadron client systems technician, who received the 2019 Military Volunteer of the Year award for the City of Biloxi, April 16.

Tech Sgt. Ashley Nelson, 81st CS information technology asset management NCO in charge, has known Padgett for two years and has seen first-hand how dedicated Padgett is, which is why she nominated him for the award.

“He spends a lot of his weekends and personal time helping other people,” said Nelson. “He’s always that person who wants to help other people.”

Nelson said what she appreciates most is Padgett’s natural giving spirit.

“If it speaks to him he’ll do it,” Nelson said. “He’ll maneuver his schedule to fit in what other people might need.”

Padgett’s passion for volunteering started shortly after arriving to Keesler when some friends invited him to an event.

“It was a beach clean-up,” Padgett said. “I did one, I took a couple weekends off, and then I did another and that’s when I started volunteering more frequently.”

Over the course or his career, Padgett has participated in many volunteer opportunities such as working with the Gulf Coast Center for Non-violence.

“I would go to events at the casino and usher for them and the casino would pay out a lump sum of money to the Gulf Coast Center for Non-Violence,” Padgett said.

Padgett has even led and coordinated some events for the Air Force Sergeants Association, an international organization that is committed to representing Air Force enlisted personnel. They give members such as Padgett opportunities to participate in various volunteer events around base.

Padgett said he was most proud of a fundraiser he organized through AFSA to help those who were affected by Hurricane Michael.

“I had to create the flyers and get the word out that it was going,” Padgett said. “It was a 15-hour event and we gathered roughly $2,400 and 137 cases of water.”

Though Padgett has always dedicated a mass amount of time volunteering and helping others around the City of Biloxi, he never anticipated this award.

“I never expected anything like this,” Padgett said. “To be completely honest, if I didn’t enjoy volunteering, I wouldn’t do it.”

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