Alabama Goodwill Ambassadors honored
Wing Commander Darren Goldie of the Royal Australian air force, from left, watches as 40-class award recipients Dottye and Jim Hannan read a card of thanks crafted by his children. Volunteers who sponsor international officers during their studies at the Air University were honored with an awards ceremony Tuesday. (Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
Alabama Goodwill Ambassadors honored

by Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Stoltz
Air University Public Affairs

1/27/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The annual Alabama Goodwill Ambassador's Appreciation Night, held at the Maxwell Club Tuesday, honored sponsors for their tremendous support of the AGA program. Ambassadors sponsor international officers attending the Air University schools. The program provides opportunity for ambassadors and international officers and their families to enjoy a rich sharing of cultures and enlightenment about each other's countries.

More than 350 people, including about 125 AGA sponsors and more than 150 international officers from 56 countries, attended this year's event.

The Alabama Goodwill Ambassador program began in 1966, as a collaboration between the Air University and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. The AGA Appreciation Night is sponsored by the Air University and was first held in 1978.

Hosted by Lt. Gen. David Fadok, the Air University commander and president, the event recognized sponsors for their service to AGA by presenting plaques to the sponsors for the number of AU classes in which they have sponsored international officers.

Fadok said the ambassadors play an important role for international officers here. The purpose of the AGA program is to foster goodwill between the militaries of the United States and its allies.

"This program is all about building partnerships," he said. "When the students come here, it is meant to be a richer experience than just the professional military education they receive at the Air University. The Goodwill Ambassadors who graciously agree to sponsor the international officers and their families give them a taste of what it means to be in the United States, our American way of life and our ideals. Through this program, relationships are created that truly last a lifetime."

The plaque presentations included five sponsors receiving five-class plaques; three sponsors receiving a ten-class plaque, two sponsors receiving 15-class plaques; one sponsor receiving a 20-class plaque; and two sponsors receiving an award for 40 classes. Fadok also recognized and thanked all ambassadors, including first-time ambassadors.

Kay Miller, a current ambassador and 40-class award recipient, said the program is something she has been proud to be a part of for the last four decades.

"It's just a wonderful experience to help people who many times know nothing about our country," she said. "They are faced with having to find somewhere to live, along with finding an automobile and to be able to help them do those things successfully is rewarding."

Royal Canadian Air Force Col. David Lowthian has experienced first-hand how rewarding and helpful the AGA program is and said Montgomery has been his 'home away from home' during his year at Maxwell.

"It has been a very positive experience" he said. "At the end of the year we will all part our separate ways, but we'll have formed a bond with people from around the world."

To become an Alabama Goodwill Ambassador, contact Maj. Monoleto Hosea at 953-7187, or email him at