JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
Every year the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce accepts nominees from each branch of the military for a prestigious award known as the Military Citizen of the Year. This award is given to service members showing top participation in off-duty community outreach while also excelling in their military duties.
This year, the Air Force Military Citizen of the Year is Tech. Sgt. Justin Chong, Air Combat Command fuels acquisition technician, an Airman whose reputation precedes him both on and off duty.
Although the award is for 2020, it covers his service to his community as far back as 2018. His commitment to helping others professionally and personally is just part of who he is according to his leadership.
During this time, Chong was involved with multiple organizations around the community. He initiated his flight’s commitment to “adopt-a-spot” with the Hampton Clean City Commission. Through that, his flight hosted 20 clean-up missions earning the Golden Little Stick award. He and his son recently participated in the 2020 Virginia Waterways Cleanup.
According to Chong, doing his part in building a relationship between the Air Force and his community is something he takes pride in.
“You have someone who not only invests his time into his work, but his family and community,” said Master Sgt. Omar Rich, 633rd Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operations section chief and Chong’s former supervisor. “When the nominations came up, I knew without a shadow of a doubt I’d nominate him.”
Although he’s a technical sergeant, he fills the role of a senior non-commissioned officer. Chong has the ability to identify long-term issues and find various courses of action to remedy the situations in his career.
Being a good Airman means being a good citizen to Chong.
“I have had many peers, mentors and supervisors throughout my career that helped shaped my view of leadership and commitment to serving our local community,” Chong said, adding that his family has been by his side, supporting his career and off-duty service.
“My wife was more excited than I was because she knows how many hours I’ve spent at work and with our community members helping people,” said Chong.
As Chong’s reputation grew, he was offered a position at headquarters Air Combat Command and currently works in the acquisition management and integration center.
His key to success is to embrace change. This philosophy is directly related to his own experiences.
“I personally was content with coming to work, doing my job and going home,” Chong said. “I was challenged a few years ago to get involved with base and community organizations and I have not looked back. Recognition and awards aside, I feel that it has helped shape me into a better leader.”