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Military Citizen of the Year
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Amanda Payne's Military Citizen of the Year award is proudly displayed on her desk, Feb. 14, 2012, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Payne is the 20th Fighter Wing command chief executive assistant. The Military Citizen of the Year award is given to someone who has lent their personal time to help contribute to both the local community, as well as Shaw Air Force Base through volunteering. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kenny Holston/Released)
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Selfless Airman wins local award

Posted 2/21/2012   Updated 2/21/2012 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Kenny Holston
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/21/2012 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Sitting tall with a rigid posture and a greeting smile, she answers the phone while shuffling papers and motioning for an airman to enter her office. As her phone conversation ends, she schedules and reschedules appointments for her boss. The moment she hangs up the phone to help the Airman standing in front of her the phone rings again, but not before a deep voice from the other room shouts, "Sergeant Payne!"
Multitasking had become a word she could hang her hat on. Time management was something she had perfected after nearly two years of working in her position. But through the rigorous, time consuming demands of her daily job as an Air Force command chief's executive assistant, she always juggled the workload just enough to ensure time for her hobby -- volunteering.

Staff Sgt. Amanda Payne, 20th Fighter Wing command chief executive assistant, was recently named the 2011 Military Citizen of the Year here for her extensive community involvement and volunteer time.

With the job of being a command chief's executive comes much attention to detail and vast flexibility, Payne said. The hours are often long and the daily grind can become quite hectic, but with confidence and proper time management, there's always time for volunteering.

The Military Citizen of the Year award is given to someone who has lent their personal time to help contribute to both the local community, as well as Shaw Air Force Base through volunteering, according to Sumter, S.C., county officials.

"I was extremely shocked when I was selected for the award," Payne said. "It's such an honor for me and my family."

Though Payne is an all go, never quit, hard charger, she realizes her solid family environment is what makes it possible for her to be such an active volunteer, she said.

"I would never be able to be involved with all the volunteering I do if it wasn't for my husband," Payne added. "The real sacrifice is those Saturdays that he's at home taking care of our son by himself while I volunteer."

Understanding her husband's uncontested sacrifice, Payne continues to lend her free time to the base and community because she loves it.

"I volunteer because it's something I love, and I know I'm good at, said the Atlanta, Ga., native. "I enjoy being around people and being involved in both Shaw and Sumter. It gives me that tight knit community feeling that I think everyone should experience."

While Payne was recently recognized for her efforts, she's always had her hands in the volunteer circle, explained her husband, Staff Sgt. Tony Payne, Shaw Air Force Base Honor Guard member.

"She's always enjoyed helping out and being involved in a good cause, he said. "She's very positive and always motivated, which makes her great at what she does."

When the volunteer hours stack up and the early mornings turn into late nights, the tough demands of volunteering can become a bit stressful every now and then.

"Volunteering as much as I do can be a little stressful at times," the young sergeant explained. "But, it's a good type of stress that I feel is needed in life."

Though she hardly turns down an opportunity to volunteer, she also understands the limits on what she can and cannot do.

"I wish I could volunteer for everything that comes my way, but I have to hold back sometime," she said. "I would say the worst part is having to say no to a volunteer opportunity."

As Payne approaches her eighth year in the Air Force, she plans to keep volunteering as often as she can while continuing down her military career path, with hopes of one day becoming a chief master sergeant, she said.

With her papers organized, appointments scheduled and a happy boss, she clears her desk after a taxing day just before signing up for one more volunteer opportunity.

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