HILL AIR FORCE BASE — In recognition of their support to Hill Air Force Base, Gary Harter and Linda Kelley were recently selected to receive the prestigious Community Wingman Award.
The award, which has been presented annually to members of the community since 2007, recognizes those who have made significant service contributions to the installation. The recipients were presented with their awards at the commander’s summer social Sept. 10 at the Hill Aerospace Museum.
“This award recognizes the sustained leadership and contributions of our community of supporting Team Hill Airmen and the Air Force,” said Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th Air Base Wing commander. “These individuals demonstrated self-motivation, leadership, creativity, dedication and commitment. They put forth tremendous effort to help the men and women of Team Hill. Their leadership and inspiring personalities helped to educate others on the unique capabilities of our service.”
Harter has been actively engaged in supporting Hill AFB and its Airmen for more than 15 years. As a Utah Defense Alliance and Military Installation Defense Authority member, he provided expert advice in the effort to establish Hill AFB’s Falcon Hill Aerospace Park, one of the largest Enhanced Use Lease projects in the Department of Defense.
Harter has also worked to improve quality of life programs for Airmen and their families. He educated members of the legislature on a variety of efforts to improve employment programs and benefits and on ways to expand education protections for military children. He also built wide support for Utah’s first-time home buyers grant program, a highly successful effort with more than $500,000 awarded to military members buying their first home.
“It’s a distinct honor and privilege for me to have this recognition,” Harter said. “It’s not certainly just for me, it’s for all the great people I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”
Kelley has been a military supporter for about three decades, working continuously to maintain strong, positive relationships between the community and the installation. She was influential in the creation of the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, and her leadership, vision and dedication ensures TOUMAC’s priorities focus on Hill Airmen and their families.
Kelley consistently encourages her fellow TOUMAC members to deliver even higher levels of support to quality of life programs at Hill. She invests her time and personal resources to represent the community’s viewpoint regarding Hill AFB’s missions and uses her knowledge to mentor new community leaders, helping to broaden and deepen community support for Team Hill.
Kelley said she is honored to receive the award and feels it’s important the community supports Hill and its Airman because they do so much for the community and the nation.
“It’s an absolute honor to support our military,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to serve in a capacity that has allowed me to link the community and Hill Air Force Base for well over two decades, so it is very humbling to receive this recognition. I look forward to continuing to support the installation as it continues to navigate mission growth in support of our great nation.”
Carroll thanked all the community leaders at the event for their support they give to Team Hill.
“This signifies the great teamwork and relationship we have with our community partners,” Carroll said. “We could not do what we do without a tremendous effort from our community leaders.”
The event also signified that the base is making an effort to return to hosting events, while still being mindful of the pandemic and adhering to guidance on social distancing and face coverings.