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178th recruiter wins Charlotte Ortiz Legacy Award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rachel Simones
  • 178th Wing

Master Sgt. Charlotte Ortiz served in the Air National Guard for nearly two decades and touched hundreds of lives with her outgoing, fun demeanor.

Ortiz was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and fought every day with her National Guard family by her side. On Aug. 12, 2019, Ortiz lost her battle with cancer. Friends, family, and fellow service members wanted to commemorate the impact she had on others and the Charlotte Ortiz Legacy Award was born.

“The Recruiting and Retention team for the state of Ohio wanted to come up with something that would carry on her legacy,” said Master Sgt. Lori Mittelstadt, the 178th Wing Recruiting Office Flight Chief. “She was an amazing person and she really had an impact on all of our lives. She was a life that was taken way too soon and we wanted to do something that would honor her and her family.”

This award is given annually to a recruiter that exemplifies the qualities that Ortiz exuded. In 2019, Mittelstadt earned this award.

“It made me feel very, very honored,” said Mittelstadt. “It was very humbling.”

Mittelstadt, who assisted Ortiz during her battle with cancer and remained one of her close friends, embodies all the reasons this award was established. Her dedication to the recruiting career field, positive attitude and hardworking nature allowed her to earn this award.

“Charlotte was full of life, love and happiness,” said Mittelstadt. “You walk into a room and her smile would just light up the whole entire room. Her smile would instantly make your day. She was a great mentor and she’s who I learned everything from.”

Since 2002, Ortiz served as an Ohio Air National Guard recruiter and was eventually promoted to the position of Assistant Recruiting and Retention Superintendent for the Ohio Air National Guard. She was dedicated to helping others find their passion and achieve their goals in life.

“She had been in recruiting for most of her military career,” said Mittelstadt. “She was honestly the expert in recruiting; she was the know-all for everything.”

Each year, this award will be given to the deserving candidate. Ortiz’s husband assists in presenting this award and commemorates Ortiz’s life and military service.

“I think she left a very long-lasting impression,” said Mittelstadt. “I think that’s the idea of the legacy award, too. She was a person of impact and hopefully it will carry on for many years to come.”

Air National Guard members stand together during times of hardship and success, and Ortiz’s battle with cancer was no exception. This award honors that bond between service members and the characteristics it takes to build those life-long friendships.