Holm Center presents first Gold Bar of the Year award|
Posted 6/8/2010 Updated 6/8/2010
by Jessica Casserly
Air University Public Affairs
6/8/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development presented the first Gold Bar of the Year award to 2nd Lt. Christopher Maher on May 19.
"Lieutenant Maher is the first to receive the award since the program was restarted this past summer," said Maj. Randall Lucas, director of Regional Recruiting for the Holm Center.
The award was presented to Lieutenant Maher during a teleconference with the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Commander Col. John McCain and Lieutenant Maher's assigned detachment.
The Gold Bar Recruiting program, designed to bring diversity to Air Force ROTC recruits, was reinstated under the Holm Center in July 2009. Major Lucas said Lieutenant Maher was among the first group of Gold Bars to complete the 10-day training program after its reinstatement at Maxwell.
The Gold Bar of the Year award came about as a way to recognize recruiters who excelled, Major Lucas explained.
"We wanted to give the highest performer an award that would distinguish them among their peers. We wanted to show how this job was important to the overall goals of the Air Force and the Department of Defense as a whole," said Major Lucas.
Lieutenant Maher said the Gold Bar recruiters had been told about the award at the beginning of their training, but he wasn't expecting to win. "I was surprised to learn that I had been selected," he said.
"All Gold Bar recruiters were eligible and competed for the award," Major Lucas said. "The qualifications were based on accomplishment of the Gold Bar mission and their accomplishments as a new Air Force officer. A panel of Company Grade Officers reviewed and scored their 1206 Forms. That, coupled with diversity contact data, was weighed, and the winner was determined from the overall score."
Major Lucas said it was Lieutenant Maher's dedication and hard work that made him stand out. "Along with gathering the most eligible High School Scholarship Program applicants, his achievements and services as an officer at an AFROTC detachment really stood out. He briefed AFROTC at more than 160 high schools in New Mexico and west Texas," Major Lucas said.
Lieutenant Maher grew up around the Air Force. "My father was in the Air Force, and his career took us to places like Japan and Germany," Lieutenant Maher said. "I loved the life, and I wanted to keep living it."
Though his dad was enlisted, Lieutenant Maher said his dad encouraged him to go to college and become an officer. Lieutenant Maher was awarded an AFROTC scholarship and graduated from New Mexico State University, where he was a part of Detachment 505, before being commissioned.
While his Air Force career was a lifelong goal, Lieutenant Maher had not considered becoming a Gold Bar recruiter. "My ROTC colonel sent out a message about the Gold Bar opportunity a couple of weeks before graduation," Lieutenant Maher said. "I was going to have a long break before starting active duty, so I decided to apply. I wanted to give back to my ROTC detachment."
Lieutenant Maher was selected to return to his detachment at New Mexico State University as a Gold Bar recruiter after his training. "I enjoyed traveling around the region and visiting high schools," Lieutenant Maher said. "The area where I was working had a strong Army and Marine Corps presence, so I enjoyed spreading the Air Force story."
Though he liked sharing the Air Force mission, Lieutenant Maher said his most significant experience as a Gold Bar recruiter was presenting scholarships. "I enjoyed watching the students receive the scholarships I had helped them apply for and being able to meet their families and see their happiness," said Lieutenant Maher.
Now that his assignment as a Gold Bar recruiter is finished, Lieutenant Maher is relocating to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., where he will continue his pilot training. "I plan to make the Air Force a career like my dad," Lieutenant Maher said.
As he moves forward in his career, Lieutenant Maher says that his experience as an Air Force Gold Bar recruiter will remain important. "The Gold Bar program brings the Air Force story to places that normally don't get it, and it brings more diversity to the officer corps."