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911th CS gives its appreciation to custodial staff

Photo By Master Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi | Lt. Col. Bennett Reid, the commander of the 911th Communications Squadron, poses for a photo with the Achieva custodial staff, November 16, 2023.

Story by Master Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi

November, designated as National Month of Gratitude, provided an opportune moment for the 911th Communications Squadron to reflect on the contributions of Achieva's custodial team. The commander of the 911th CS, Lt. Col. Bennett Reid, along with the unit's contractors, civilians, and Airmen, took a step beyond conventional appreciation by honoring Achieva's men and women on November 16, 2023, at Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station.

Beyond a simple lunch, Reid personally conveyed gratitude to the custodial team by presenting each member with the 911th CS patch. Achieva, a Pittsburgh based non-profit that supports people with disabilities, is entrusted with the base's cleaning contract and plays a crucial role in maintaining the base's cleanliness, including everyday office upkeep and floor maintenance.

“Gratitude extends beyond mere expressions of ‘thank you,’” said Ronald Mines, an information specialist assigned to the 911th CS. “It involves taking the time to recognize the positive things one has received and serves as a means of demonstrating appreciation.”

This act of gratitude was inspired by a story shared by Colonel James E. Moschgart in December 2001. He recounted his experience as a cadet at the Air Force Academy, where a janitor named William "Bill" Crawford left an indelible mark on the squadron.

Bill's humble role as a janitor belied a heroic past. In World War II, Pvt. Crawford, later promoted to Master Sergeant, displayed exceptional valor, earning the Medal of Honor for taking out three enemy machine guns and surviving captivity in a German POW camp. Col. Moschgart's revelation about Bill's heroic past transformed the perception of the squadron.

Col. Moschgart extracted invaluable leadership lessons from Bill's story, emphasizing the dangers of labeling and the importance of treating everyone with respect. He urged leaders to be humble, recognize the potential in every team member, and understand that life itself is a leadership laboratory.

His tale underscores the profound impact individuals in seemingly ordinary roles can have on a team.

As we express gratitude during this season, let us not forget those who may be overlooked in our professional journeys—whether military, contracting, or civilian, said Mines. The janitor or cleaning crew at your workplace might be the unsung hero teaching enduring lessons in leadership.