Are you Whiteman's next MVP?

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Each month, a member of Team Whiteman is recognized by the base's Top 3 organization as the organization's Most Valuable Player.

For the past two years, the award has recognized enlisted individuals, E-6 and below, who are observed doing outstanding work on and off duty.

"It gives senior NCOs a chance to highlight personnel who are doing outstanding work for the Air Force without going through the paperwork and waiting periods required for other awards," said Senior Master Sgt. Joel Brown, Whiteman's Top 3 President. "The MVP award is great opportunity to quickly recognize Airmen for what they do.

"In the Air Force we have awards that recognize Airmen based off huge packets and bullets, so the MVP offers recognition for people's everyday work," added Brown.

The Top 3 meets every second Wednesday of the month and nominate individuals worthy of the award. Airmen do not have to be direct subordinates of the senior NCO; the individual simply has to be noticed.

Since there are no bullets or paperwork required, active Top 3 members vote based off the information given at the meeting and what they already know about the nominees' work ethic.

The senior NCO who nominated the winning candidate then coordinates with the Top 3 to schedule a time and place to award the MVP.

"The morning I received the [MVP] award I was in complete shock," said Airman 1st Class Zion Hackler-Lopez, a recent recipient of the MVP award. "So much so that our commander, who was sitting behind me, had to prompt me to go up and receive it. I was very grateful yet at a loss for words at the time."

Hackler-Lopez also said the MVP award, and similar recognition programs, are great because they show that although individuals may not always realize it, leadership is paying attention to their efforts.

"I feel like it is important for leadership to recognize Airmen in order to keep up good morale with their troops and to set goals and standards for their Airmen to achieve," she said. "Receiving awards, even just being put up for one, shows the airman that their effort does not go unnoticed and that they are vital to their wing and community. This will in turn, push them to keep striving to be model Airmen who adhere to the core values."

Brown said if he was looking for someone to nominate he would look for someone who epitomizes the core values with great leadership and customer service personality; an individual who goes above and beyond their job.

"[I'm looking for] someone who doesn't come to work and then go home, but helps out in the community and more," he said. Hackler-Lopez believes that it is never too late for Airmen to start striving to better themselves and others.

"Airmen, especially young ones, should jump on the opportunities they receive now," she said. "As we move up in rank, attend classes, and start families, the free time we once had becomes more and more limited, so accomplish what you can now."