,
12
September
2019
|
09:18 PM
America/Chicago

Public Affairs Officers Recognized for Top 2018 Efforts

Thirty-three public affairs officers from across Civil Air Patrol have been recognized in the organization’s annual Balsem Awards competition, held to honor PAOs’ best efforts in publicizing the organization, its members and its missions.

First Lt. Alysia English, Southeast Region director of public affairs, paced the field by attaining not only three Maj. Howell Balsem Civil Air Patrol Public Affairs Exceptional Achievement Awards but also the Maj. Al Pabon Best in Show Balsem Award. The top honor was awarded for English’s work arranging for the TV news feature on “Cadets of the Georgia Civil Air Patrol,” aired Dec. 6 by WGCL, the CBS affiliate in Atlanta.

Her work to secure the report, centered around a visit to the Dekalb County Cadet Squadron, included a comprehensive campaign – including more than 200 emails in 60 days – to ensure that the reporter and others at the station understood CAP’s legacy and missions. She was the Georgia Wing's public affairs officer at the time.

“I challenge anyone between the ages of 12 and 21 to watch this video and not want to join CAP!” one judge said.

The Balsem awards program is named for CAP’s first PAO, who served as an Army Air Forces officer during World War II and then as the organization's PAO from 1949-1956. The awards competition provides CAP PAOs with the opportunity for recognition for outstanding achievement in up to 11 categories.

The highest honor is the Best in Show Balsem Award, named for Pabon, former director of public affairs for the North Central Region and former national volunteer team leader for public affairs. He was named National PAO of the Year for 2006, and his newsletter and website were recognized with Balsem Awards in 2007 at the first National PAO Academy in Atlanta, when the inaugural Balsems were presented. He died unexpectedly from natural causes at age 46 on July 22, 2011.

Judges in the competition chose first-place Balsem Awards, second-place Awards of Excellence and third-place Certificates of Merit for each category, with the option of not presenting an award in any category. More than one first-, second- or third-place award were selected in some categories.

This year's field of submissions consisted of 89 entries of public affairs work from 38 members in 35 units, representing 20 wings and seven regions. Of those entrants, members representing 29 units in 15 wings accounted for 51 awards in all – 21 Balsem Awards, 18 Awards of Excellence and 12 Certificates of Merit.

In keeping with PAOs' emphasis on sharing CAP's story with the public, the External Media Coverage of CAP category accounted for nearly half – 23, or 45% – of all awards, with 12 Balsems, eight Awards of Excellence and three Certificates of Merit.

English was one of 13 entrants receiving multiple awards, along with:

Four awards

  • Lt. Col. David Miller, Missouri Wing – Balsem Award, two Awards of Excellence, Certificate of Merit

Three awards

  • Maj. Madeline Kirsten, Florida Wing – three Awards of Excellence
     
  • Capt. Anibal Pacheco, Kentucky Wing – two Awards of Excellence, Certificate of Merit

Two awards

  • Lt. Col. Robert Bowden, Michigan Wing – two Balsem Awards
     
  • Lt. Col. Andrew Oppmann, Tennessee Wing (Southeast Region director of public affairs when he performed the recognized work) – two Balsem Awards
     
  • Lt. Col. Morgan Torp-Pedersen, Tennessee Wing – two Awards of Excellence
     
  • Maj. Jacob Bixler, Virginia Wing -- Award of Excellence, Certificate of Merit
     
  • Maj. Patrick White, Florida Wing – two Balsem Awards
     
  • Capt. Ilse House, Kentucky Wing – Balsem Award, Award of Excellence
     
  • Capt. Alice Raatjes, Maryland Wing – Award of Excellence, Certificate of Merit
     
  • 1st Lt. Rachael Mercer, South Carolina Wing – two Balsem Awards
     
  • Senior Member Marc Duome, Pennsylvania Wing – two Awards of Excellence

Here are all the award recipients:

Brochure/Poster/Flyer
Balsem Award
“MER-SC-074 Open House Flyer”
1st Lt. Roman Vitanza
Fort Worth Phoenix Composite Squadron
Texas Wing

Award of Excellence
“Statewide Open House“
Capt. Anibal Pacheco
Fort Campbell Composite Squadron
Kentucky Wing

"DroneFest 2018"
Senior Member Marc Duome
Doylestown Composite Squadron 907
Pennsylvania Wing

Certiificate of Merit
“2018 Nevada Wing Conference Promotional Materials”
Capt. Maryan Tooker
Wing Headquarters
Nevada Wing

Crisis Management
Balsem Award
“Southeast Region Public Affairs Response to Hurricane Michael”
Lt. Col. Andrew Oppmann
Wing Headquarters
Tennessee Wing

Event Promotion
Award of Excellence
“Wreaths Across America Media Kit”
Lt. Col. David Miller
Group 2
Missouri Wing

“Statewide Open House“
Capt. Ilse House
Wing Headquarters
Kentucky Wing

"DroneFest 2018
Senior Member Marc Duome
Doylestown Composite Squadron
Pennsylvania Wing

Certificate of Merit
“Wreaths Across America"
Capt. Charles Vaughn
Jacksonville Composite Squadron

External Media Coverage of CAP
Balsem Award
“Civil Air Patrol Prepares to Assist After Hurricane Michael”
Lt. Col. Andrew Oppmann
Wing Headquarters
Tennessee Wing

“WCTV Pre-Hurricane Coverage”
Maj. Patrick White
Tallahassee Composite Squadron
Florida Wing

“Post-Hurricane Recovery Story for WCTV (CBS)”
Maj. Patrick White
Tallahassee Composite Squadron
Florida Wing

“CAP on ‘Friday's Fearless’"
Capt. Bryan Holland
Burlington Senior Squadron
Vermont Wing

“Congressional Gold Medal – Pat Shely”
Capt. Ilse House
Wing Headquarters
Kentucky Wing

“’The Finer Points’ Podcast Episode”
Capt. Harker Miley
Chicago Senior Squadron
Illinois Wing

“Florida Wing Civil Air Patrol Prepares For Hurricane”
1st Lt. James Chamberland
Polk County Composite Squadron
Florida Wing

“TV Feature: ‘The Cadets of Georgia Civil Air Patrol’”
1st Lt. Alysia English
Region Headquarters
Southeast Region

“TV News: ‘Feature, NBC 15 News, Hurricane Michael Response’”
1st Lt. Alysia English
Region Headquarters
Southeast Region

“Hurricane Florence”
1st Lt. Rachael Mercer
Wing Headquarters
South Carolina Wing

“Cadet Heroes”
2nd Lt. Diane Gentzke
Peachtree City Falcon Field Composite Squadron
Georgia Wing

“Civil Air Patrol Cadets Earn Awards”
2nd Lt. Michelle Travers
Harford Composite Squadron
Maryland Wing

Award of Excellence
“The Veronica Harris Show”
Lt. Col. Paul Cianciolo
Wing Headquarters
National Capital Wing

“Wreaths Across St. Louis
Lt. Col. David Miller
Group 2
Missouri Wing

“Teen Makes Tennessee History
Lt. Col. Morgan Torp-Pedersen
Murfreesboro Composite Squadron
Tennessee Wing

“Tennessee Wing Members Return from North Carolina Florence Mission”
Lt. Col. Morgan Torp-Pedersen
Murfreesboro Composite Squadron
Tennessee Wing

“Civil Air Patrol Cadets Launch Alpha III Rockets”
Maj. Jacob Bixler
Wing Headquarters
Virginia Wing

“IACE C-17 Flight”
Maj. Madeline Kirsten
Student Leadership Academy Cadet Squadron
Florida Wing

“California Wing Mission Aircrew School ‘MAS’ 2018”
Capt. Luis Rivas Jr.
Ameila Earhart Senior Squadron 188
California Wing

“Flag Day Retirement Ceremony”
1st Lt. Matthew Thompson
Reading Composite Squadron 811
Pennsylvania Wing

Certificate of Merit
“Cyber Defense Training Academy 2018” 
Maj. Jacob Bixler
Wing Headquarters
Virginia Wing

“Statewide Open House”
Capt. Anibal Pacheco
Fort Campbell Composite Squadron
Kentucky Wing

“Mount Airy Summer Activities”
1st Lt. Mary Alvarado
Mount Airy Composite Squadron
Maryland Wing

Magazine
Balsem Award
“Music City Composite Squadron Monthly Magazine”
Maj. Kevin Divers
Music City Composite Squadron
Tennessee Wing

Photography
Balsem Award
“2018 D.C. Cadets and the Capitol”
Lt. Col. Robert Bowden
Livonia Thunderbird Composite Squadron
Michigan Wing

Award of Excellence
“Committed to Excellence
Maj. Madeline Kirsten
Student Leadership Academy Cadet Squadron
Florida Wing

“PAO Photography”
Capt. Anibal Pachec
Fort Campbell Composite Squadron
Kentucky Wing

Certificate of Merit
“Cadets Learn to Safely Handle a Litter Carry”
Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Robert McCracken
Hampton Roads Composite Squadron
Virginia Wing

Social Media
Balsem Award
“Missouri Wing Facebook Group Page”
Lt. Col. David Miller
Group 2
Missouri Wing

“National Aviation Week Social Media Emphasis”
1st Lt. Rachael Mercer
Wing Headquarters
South Carolina Wing

Award of Excellence
“Rocketry Day a Success!”
Maj. Madeline Kirsten
Student Leadership Academy Cadet Squadron
Florida Wing

“Profiles in Leadership”
Capt. Alice Raatjes
Wing Headquarters
Maryland Wing

“VA-141 Marches in South Norfolk 38th Annual Fourth of July Parade”
1st Lt. Nancy Flanagan
Hampton Roads Composite Squadron
Virginia Wing

Certificate of Merit
“Mackinaw City Festival Parade Presentation"
Lt. Col. Mark Sinicki
Cass River Composite Squadron
Michigan Wing

“Women's History Month 2018”
Capt. Alice Raatjes
Wing Headquarters
Maryland Wing

“Mount Airy Composite Squadron Cadet Compliment”
1st Lt. Elizabeth Linares
Mount Airy Composite Squadron
Maryland Wing

Slide/PowerPoint Presentation
Balsem Award
“GA045 Snoopy Log 2018”
Lt. Col. Brian Berry
Sandy Springs Cadet Squadron
Georgia Wing 

“2018 Media and Crisis Training for Georgia Wing Commanders”
1st Lt. Alysia English
Region Headquarters
Southeast Region

Certificate of Merit
“North Carolina Wing 2018 Year-in-Review Slideshow”
Capt. Lynne Albert
Orange County Composite Squadron
North Carolina Wing

Website
Balsem Award
“Civil Air Patrol SmugMug”
Lt. Col. Robert Bowden
Livonia Thunderbolt Composite Squadron
Michigan Wing

Certificate of Merit
“Missouri Wing Website”
Lt. Col. David Miller
Group 2
Missouri Wing

“Transition to New Website”
Maj. Robert Thompson
College Park Composite Squadron
Maryland Wing