Horsham AGS's RAO volunteer recognized by retired senior leaders

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond
  • 111th Attack Wing Public Affairs
Retired Master Sgt. Vince Aquaviva, Horsham Air Guard Station Retiree Activities Office (RAO) co-director, was recognized as the RAO Volunteer of the Year here Aug. 14.

The 41-year military veteran received a certificate from retired Lt. Gen. Stephen L. Hoog, Co-chairman of the Air Force Retiree Council, and retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley acknowledging his contributions to Air Force retirees.

"After someone retires, I think there is still a drive inside them to help out or volunteer," said Aquaviva. "And this is one way that retirees can help out those that are still in [the military], as well as other veterans, retirees and their families."

He continued by saying that in his role as an RAO member, he has spent a majority of his time assisting retired-military spouses navigate information regarding their benefits.

"The military is our family," says Aquaviva. While gesturing to the RAO banner hung behind him he said, "Like our flag says: We're still serving. And that's the biggest thing; we're still there to help."

According to the official Air Force Retiree Services website, RAOs are composed of volunteers from all services, including surviving spouses. Their charter is to coordinate, establish and staff an office on active-duty, Reserve or Guard bases that provides a multitude of support. These actions include serving as an information center for space-available travel, Tricare and base services. They also offer referrals for financial-assistance and pay matters, support members nearing retirement and provide literature on retirement issues.

Surprised by both the nomination and receipt of the award, Aquaviva credited his fellow RAO members.

"[This awards goes] to an individual, but actually it's the office - the volunteers that are here - that earn the award."

While Aquaviva recognized his fellow office members, retired Chief Master Sgt. Jenny Pappas, Horsham AGS RAO director, explained that he earned the award by distinguishing himself by his tireless service and reliability, "He is dependable, he is giving of his time, he's knowledgeable and he'd go out of his way to help."

Pappas, who nominated Aquaviva for the award, described some other major attributes that distinguish her second-in-command.

"I can depend on him; that's why he's co-director," she said. "He's my right and left arm."

In May, Pappas received notification that Aquaviva was chosen for the recognition. Not only was it a welcome moment for the office, but also a historic one.

"This is the first time that anyone from the Retirees Activities Office here has been put in for this award and won...," said Pappas. "No one has ever been put in, or acknowledged - and the people here are well-deserving of the credit."

Pappas said that she intends on continuing to foster recognition for Horsham's RAO personnel. Aquaviva said he is going to continue his unwavering dedication to serve.

"We're here to help out," he said. "As a military family, we promise to take care of each other from cradle-to-grave; we here at the RAO are part of that promise."