137 ARW family receives Air National Guard volunteer award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kasey Phipps
  • 137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
A 137th Air Refueling Wing family won the 2015 Air National Guard Family of the Year award as a part of the 2015 National Guard Volunteer Awards announced earlier this year.

The Kettler family - Information Protection Chief Lt. Col. Elizabeth "Liz" Kettler, her husband Scott, and their two daughters, Katie and Connie - give their time to their community by volunteering for a number of organizations, including: Special Olympics, the Oklahoma City Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Life Church, Midwest City - Del City Public Schools Parent/Teacher/Student Association, 4-H Youth Development, and National Guard Bureau Family Programs.

"We love it all," said Lt. Col. Kettler. "It's not work to volunteer for people like Family Programs."

According to the award memorandum, the National Guard Family of the Year award is presented to one Air National Guard family and one Army National Guard family that "demonstrate outstanding and exceptional service to Family Programs."

The Kettlers are among 25 other volunteer award recipients in seven different categories that were recognized nationally.

"We didn't even know that we had been nominated," said Lt. Col. Kettler. "But we don't do it for the award. We do it because we love Family Programs."

As a service member, Lt. Col. Kettler knows the importance of giving back to the community that provides support for the military and their families, she said.

"I've had so many great experiences in 30 years," said Lt. Col. Kettler. "There were so many mentors pouring into my life. It's only the right thing to do. We're just trying to pay it forward."

As parents, the Kettlers want to set an example for their daughters by working alongside them and leading through example, Scott said.

"You help mold and guide kids while also mentoring yours," he said. "You get the benefit of helping both."

Katie and Connie also enjoy the experiences of volunteering and want to continue to volunteer in the future, they said.

"It's fun," said Katie. "We make friends, and we know we're helping. It takes you out of your comfort zone, and sometimes that's good."

Though the Kettlers have worked with Family Programs and other volunteer organizations for years, Lt. Col. Kettler understands that sometimes volunteering, especially around children, doesn't come naturally to everyone, she said.

"Some people can fish or pull apart weapons or can interact with kids, and I honestly felt intimidated by it all," she said. "But everyone can do something, even if it is administrative work."

After seeing the results of volunteerism, Lt. Col. Kettler no longer hesitates to lend a helping hand, she said.

"Whenever Family Programs needs anything, they just call us."

The National Guard Volunteer Awards were established in 2008 by National Guard Family Programs as a way to honor volunteers who inspire others to engage in volunteer service and recognize outstanding volunteers and organizations for their valuable contributions to the National Guard.

"It's an unexpected and huge honor," said Scott. "You feel appreciated and validated, which really makes you want to do more. We hope to inspire others to volunteer too."