Civil Air Patrol

Wisconsin Wing celebrates its top performers

Racine, Wis – Members from across Wisconsin Wing gathered at the Racine Delta Architect Marriott Hotel for a weekend of education, camaraderie, and recognition. The annual Wing Conference held a number of highlights for members. This year’s conference celebrated CAP’s 75 years of service to America.

During the wing’s annual banquet, a number of top performers were recognized. The highlight of the evening came when Colonel Ed Phelka and Colonel Rose Hunt presented eight Gill Robb Wilson Awards. During the presentation, seven of the recipients were on hand to receive their awards; while the eighth recipient, Lieutenant Colonel John Hoffman, joined the banquet via a videoconference link from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where he currently serves as part of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigation. The other members receiving the Gill Robb Wilson Award were: Lieutenant Colonel Sherwood Williams, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Boulanger, Lieutenant Colonel James Delaney, Lieutenant Colonel Denese Helgeland, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Klein, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Gaylord, and Lieutenant Colonel Steve Michaels.


Lieutenant Colonel John Hoffman joins the seven other Gill Robb Wilson Award recipients via video link from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Also recognized during the banquet were the wing’s Cadet of the Year and Senior Member of the Year. Cadet Major Olga Boukhalova received the Cadet of the Year award and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ward received the Senior Member of the Year award.

The wing’s Squadron of Merit award went to the Eau Claire Composite Squadron, and the squadron also earned the Region’s Squadron of Distinction award.

Other awardees included:

  • Aerospace Officer of the Year*: 2d Lt Jack Owen, Eau Claire Composite Squadron
  • Character Development Officer of the Year: MSgt Gwendolyn Gajewski, Walco Composite Squadron
  • Public Affairs Officer of the Year: Lt Col Richard Kreitz, Northeast Group
  • Communicator of the Year*: Lt Col Larry Ochowski, Wing Headquarters
  • Cadet Programs Officer of the Year: Major Richard Merz, La Crosse Composite Squadron
  • Professional Development Officer of the Year: Capt Stacey Kreitz, Fox Cities Composite Squadron
  • Safety Officer of the Year: Lt Col Ronald Marto, Door County Composite Squadron
  • AFSA Cadet NCO of the Year: C/CMSgt Ryan Timmerman, Walco Composite Squadron
  • Wing Staff Member of the Year: Lt Col John Lange, Timmerman Composite Squadron
  • Torch Award: Maj Scott Schuman, Waukesha Composite Squadron
  • Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year: Captain Mike Bero*

*denotes the individual was also named the Great Lakes Region award recipient

** denotes the unit also received the GLR Squadron of Distinction award

Additional awards that were presented:

  • Quality Cadet Unit Award: Timmerman Composite Squadron, La Crosse Composite Squadron, Waukesha Composite Squadron, Fox Cities Composite Squadron, Milwaukee Composite Squadron 5, 153rd Composite Squadron
  • Amelia Earhart Award: C/Capt Zachary Klotz, C/Capt Jacob Erdman
  • Paul E. Garber Award: Chap (Maj) Kerry Wilson
  • Commander’s Commendation: Lt Col Julie Sorenson, Lt Col Dan Ritchie
  • General Ira C. Eaker Award: 1st Lt Mitchell Lemons
  • 50-year Membership Certification: Lt Col Larry Stys
  • Certificate of Retirement: Lt Col Lavery Syring
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