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Hernandez wins 2020 Civilian of the Year Award for the 178th Wing

  • Published
  • By Story by Staff Sgt. Amber Mullen
  • 178th Wing

Amy Hernandez, the Director of Psychological Health Services at the 178th Wing, was awarded the 2020 Civilian of the Year Award Jan. 21 at Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base, Ohio.

Hernandez is a valued team member at the Wing and plays an integral role in the overall health and wellbeing of Airmen. Her warm demeanor and outgoing personality establishes a very welcoming aura. Hernandez is a friend to all and quick to help those around her.

Throughout 2020, Hernandez focused on connecting with Airmen and building ways for Airmen to interact with each other virtually during quarantine. She set up monthly virtual meeting spaces on drill weekends that allowed Airmen to talk and connect with others. Her goal was to decrease the feelings of isolation and loneliness caused by quarantine. Hernandez focused on educating Airmen on how to identify life stressors and access resources.

“My hope is that these meetings have had an impact,” said Hernandez. “I hope that they have caused someone to feel like they were connected and that someone was reaching out because they cared about them.”

Hernandez provided crisis intervention for Airmen to mitigate suicide ideation they were experiencing and thus saving lives. She worked on the Wing Casualty Team to provide counseling services to Airmen after the Wing experienced the unfortunate loss of one of its service members. She worked to provided Airmen and their family members with community resources and guided discussions.

“We did crisis intervention which included education for leadership and processing groups for our Airmen who were directly impacted by loss this year,” said Hernandez. “It’s been a hard year for our members and their families.”

In the Dayton, Ohio region, the opioid crisis is very prevalent. Hernandez worked to provide the Wing with opioid education, Narcan training, and substance abuse and need for treatment indicators.

This year brought deployments for our members both overseas to support combatant commanders and stateside to support law enforcement agencies with civil unrest missions. Hernandez met with every member deploying to ensure members were equipped with mental health fitness techniques and ensure their mental resiliency to remain mission ready.

“In the past we have done post deployment debriefs but this year we decided to implement pre-deployment debriefs to better prepare our members and equip them with resources they can use,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez’s hard work throughout 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic did not go unnoticed. Her recognition as the 2020 Civilian of the Year attests to all the unwavering support and dedication she provided to the Airman and the Wing.

“I am truly honored,” said Hernandez. “I feel so blessed to be able to work in this organization. It was my dream job so to be recognized for something I love to do is amazing.”