By Carol L Coffelt
There are many events in one’s life that are memorable. But one Clarke County family is busting at the seams with pride because they have a rare memorable moment that few families have, when one of your children is awarded a top honor from the United States Air Force.
That family is ours. Leaders from the Virginia Air National Guard recognized the organization’s top performers of the year during an annual awards ceremony held on February 20, 2021 held at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander Brig. Gen. Toni M. Lord hosted the event and presented group, state and national-level awards to Airmen alongside Col. Christopher G. Batterton, 192nd Wing Commander, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard A. Roberts, 192nd Wing command chief.
Faith Olivia Coffelt, my step daughter and a fourth-generation resident of Clarke County, was one of those awarded Outstanding Airman of the Year for the 192nd Medical Group of the Virginia Air National Guard. General Lord also recognized the 192nd and presented the group with the first Adjutant General’s Air Readiness Trophy for overall readiness in effective manning, training and recruiting, and retention efforts. The 192nd MDG was also recognized for its role and impact on the year’s federal and state missions where they organized and deployed to provide support during the coronavirus epidemic. This mission is ongoing today.
Faith turned just 20 years old in August, 2020. Her accomplishments since she turned 16-years-old rival most adults. Not only was she the youngest female EMT at Boyce Volunteer Fire Company, she also went on to obtain her Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certifications. She then joined the Virginia Air National Guard after High School. Even though she would not be a full-time active duty Airman, she still had to undergo basic military training and over a year of tech schools to become an Air Force Medic. At 20, she has already served over eight months on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, testing and vaccinating communities all around the Commonwealth.
As her father has been a member at Boyce Volunteer Fire Company since 1984, you can guess that Faith grew up around ambulances and firetrucks. And even though she has completed fire training and has gone into burning buildings, her first love is still helping people as a medic. Her full time job, when not activated by the Virginia Air National Guard, is an ER Tech at Valley Medical Hospital in Winchester. Her response to finding out about the accolade was, “Really? I don’t know why.” Because to her, doing an excellent job, leading and caring for people no matter who they are is just who she is. These inherent traits are skills these jobs require but cannot be taught.
Congratulations to Faith Olivia Coffelt for this amazing honor, and thank you for your service.