11/11/05 — Six families honored at base banquet

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Six families honored at base banquet

By Turner Walston
Published in News on November 11, 2005 1:45 PM

On the eve of Veterans' Day, the 4th Fighter Wing and the Military Affairs Committee recognized outstanding families at the annual Military Family Recognition Banquet. Six families were honored Thursday night.

The families recognized have "significantly contributed to their civilian and military communities," said Master Sgt. Jodi Fussell, superintendent of the base's Family Support Center.

Chuck Waller, executive director of the Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross, was the guest speaker. He said the families honored displayed an abundance of kindness and compassion.

Waller said attitude, perspective and the willingness to serve were the "three basic things that set you apart from the rest of the world."

"This life has so much less to do with what each of us do and accomplish ourselves," Waller said. "The journey has much more to do with what we become."

Col. Mike Holmes, commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, and Jimmie Edmundson, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, presented each family with a plaque and a check for $300. Edmundson thanked the families for their support in our community and for protecting our freedom. "You deserve these recognitions and awards more than we can say," he said.

The Seiler family was recognized from the 4th Comptroller Squadron. Tech. Sgt. Patrick Seiler has served in the military for more than 13 years. He was recently honored as Instructor of the Year at the base's Airman Leadership School. Seiler has also served as a Special Olympics coordinator. He and his wife, Misti, are active in Pikeville Free Will Baptist Church. The couple have two children, Julie and Jessica.

The Dickerson family was recognized from the 333rd Fighter Squadron. Maj. Matthew Dickerson has served in the military for more than 17 years. He is the cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 8 at New Hope United Methodist Church. His wife, Cathy, is the Webelos den leader for Pack 8. Dickerson also founded the Eastern Wayne Wee Warriors, a football teams for boys ages 8 through 12. The Dickersons are active in the Catholic Youth Organization on base. They have three children, Michael, Matthew and Stephen.

The Gleason family was recognized from the 23rd Fighter Group. 1st Lt. Robert Gleason has served in the military for more than eight years. The family helped identify a mold problem at Pope Air Force Base, and lobbied the Fort Bragg Board of Education for a speech pathologist for the school system. Becky Gleason has served as the Sunshine person at Pope. While Gleason was deployed, Mrs. Gleason worked toward certification as a dental hygienist. The Gleasons have two children, Robbie and Collin.

The Ferrarini Family was recognized from the 4th Mission Support Squadron. Capt. Diane Ferrarini deployed in support of Operation Joint Force. At home, she has served as a youth soccer coach, baseball mom and North Carolina Science Fair judge. Her husband, Jason, is a math and science teacher at Greenwood Middle School, and is also a football coach for the school. The Ferrarinis have two children, Cameron and Curtis.

The Stephenson family was recognized from the 4th Component Maintenance Squadron. Tech. Sgt. Thomas Stephenson is instrumental in Seymour Johnson's Boy Scout Troop 299. His wife, Robin, is the point-of-contact administrator for Kitty Askins Hospice Center, and has put together welcome baskets for families new to Seymour Johnson. The family is active in Daniels Memorial United Methodist Church. The Stephensons have three children, Candace, Tom and Billy.

The Phifer family was recognized from the 4th Medical Support Squadron. Tech. Sgt. Garry Phifer is the president and organizer of the Goldsboro Jackie Robinson Baseball League, and was recognized as one of America's Most Caring Coaches. He and his wife, Carolyn, are active members of Greenleaf Christian Church, and developed and maintain the church's web page. The Phifers have four children, Erin, Andrew, Angelique and Bruce.