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Freedom Wing chapel staff winning humbly

chaplain staff, 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Members of the 514th Air Mobility Wing chaplain staff at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., pose for a photo during a birthday celebration Apr. 10, 2021. The chaplain staff earned multiple team and individual awards for top performance during 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ruben Rios)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --

2020 was a year of many milestones, including multiple command-wide recognitions by Air Force Reserve Command for the 514th Air Mobility Wing chaplain staff.

The chaplain staff’s efforts to meet the spiritual needs of Airmen despite the Coronavirus pandemic helped the team earn the AFRC Chaplain Corps Readiness Award.

"We were firing on all cylinders," said Capt. Michael G. Fuentes, chaplain with the 514th AMW. "We were able to grow in staff and grow in ministry."

Among the strong performers on the chaplain staff, Master Sgt. Donald A. Ramos earned the Citizen Airman Award, a Department of the Air Force level recognition, as well as the AFRC Chaplain Individual Award for Excellence (Outstanding Reserve Religious Affairs Airman).

Ramos’ leadership was clearly displayed as he ran the Chapel Crisis Center, providing 24-hour support to joint forces deployed to New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic. There, Ramos offered more than 950 total hours of spiritual care and supported treatment efforts for thousands of patients. Additionally, Ramos spearheaded a chapel engagement program and coordinated with leadership from 22 squadrons across the base to ensure effective promotion and awareness of the resources available to all Airmen. Finally, Ramos facilitated the 514th AMW Diversity & Inclusion Program, aimed at promoting respect and tolerance within the workplace.

"Sergeant Ramos is very dedicated and hardworking," Chaplain Fuentes said. "He thought outside the box to reach more people during COVID."

Even in victory, the chapel team maintains a spirit of humble servant leadership. These awards just represent the outreach we were able to provide to Airmen in visitation, counseling and religious accommodation, Fuentes said. 

"Our mission is to serve Airmen,” Fuentes said. “God has made it prosper.”