from Missouri National Guard Public Affairs Office
Joint Forces Headquarters Missouri National Guard
3/3/2015 - JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri
National Guard public affairs Airmen and Soldiers took home top honors
in several categories of the National Guard Bureau's annual media
contest, including three overall individual achievement awards.
Missouri is especially proud of Staff Sgt. Elise Rich, the Air National
Guard's Outstanding New Broadcaster, and Sgt. Clay Beyersdorfer and
Senior Airman Nathan Dampf, who were named Print Journalists of the Year
for the Army and Air Guard, said Capt. John Quin, Missouri's state
public affairs officer.
"All three are traditional Guardsmen who push themselves hard during
drill weekends and training events to make sure they're telling the
Guard's story," Quin said. "They, along with their fellow award
recipients, represent a joint public affairs team that is second to
Rich and Dampf both serve with the 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force
Base, and excel at covering the Guard's only nuclear-certified bomb
wing, said Capt. Jeff Bishop, public affairs chief for the wing.
"These awards are particularly noteworthy because they're judged on a
variety of the Airmen's best stories from across the year, and not just a
single entry," said Bishop. "Traditional Guardsmen, who only get about
a dozen or so 'at bats' per year, have to swing for the fences every
time. I know Staff Sgt. Rich and Senior Airman Dampf will hit it out of
the park whenever they step up to the plate."
One wing having two award winners in overall individual achievement categories is a major accomplishment, Quin said.
"Captain Bishop and his superintendent, Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale
Amison, are great leaders who really empower their Airmen," Quin said.
"It's worth noting that Captain Bishop is a contest winner himself and
received top honors for a commentary he wrote about effective
mentorship. Seeing how his Airmen performed, that is clearly a subject
that he knows a lot about."
In the Army National Guard competition, the Missouri Army National Guard
70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment's Sgt. Clay Beyersdorfer took
home top honors with the Paul D. Savanuck Military Print Journalist of
the Year award, while Sgt. Mariah Best took third-place honors in the
Outstanding News Article category.
Both Soldiers had spent part of 2014 deployed to Afghanistan with the
unit, said Maj. Sandy Stover, their commander. Beyersdorfer served as a
print journalist for the 4th Infantry Division in Kandahar, Afghanistan,
producing an extraordinary number of articles and photos used on a
regular basis by news outlets like NBC Nightly News, CNN and ABC.
"Sgt. Beyersdorfer is the epitome of a Citizen Soldier," Stover said.
"Although he had only one course remaining in order to complete his
undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri, he volunteered to
deploy to Afghanistan in 2013. He became one of the most trusted and
effective military journalists in the theater."
Best, too, served as a journalist in Afghanistan. She also worked in the
media operations center in Kandahar, monitoring coverage of
International Security Assistance Forces in the news cycle.
"Sgt. Best's coverage of the International Women's Day in Afghanistan,
her award-winning news article, captured an unprecedented time period in
which Afghan women were training to become police officers," said
Stover. "The United Nations' theme for Women's Day was 'inspiring
change.' Like the theme, Sgt. Best's excellent writing and outstanding
service reflect how one person can make a difference."
The Missouri National Guard public affairs office at state headquarters
here also took in honors. The team won first place in the Outstanding
Digital Presence category. The office also teamed with the Museum of
Missouri Military History and 135th Military History Detachment for
third-place honors in the Community Relations Special Events Category
for the opening of the Museum of Missouri Military History here.
First place winners will go on to compete at the respective Army and Air
Force service levels; with winners at those levels competing in the
prestigious Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson awards program.