JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The Air Force rewards its Airmen who work hard and demonstrate dedication to duty. Occasionally, Airmen are recognized outside of the military environment. Recently, a local Air Force officer received a prestigious award.
Captain David Lutz, 628th Air Base Wing executive officer, received the Graduate Degree Emerging Professional's Award from Pennsylvania State University through the College of Health and Human Development at their Alumni Society Board Awards Dinner on Nov. 6, 2015.
Lutz said, "It was an amazing experience; I felt honored. I traveled to Happy Valley in early November and had the opportunity to give a lecture to a class on the value of leadership and meet with department heads at the school. My mom, dad, aunt, uncle and one of my professors who is still a great mentor to me all were able to attend."
The award is given to Penn State graduates who have distinguished themselves in their careers and service. There were four levels of the award: Undergraduate, Graduate Degree, Alumni Service and the Alumni Recognition.
"Winning this award was a surprise," Lutz said, "I was nominated from a pool of all graduate students in the last ten years, which represents a lot of incredible people. In fact, I didn't even know I was submitted for this award until my graduate program reached out to me in the spring--I still don't know who submitted me for it."
Graduating in 2011 with his Master's degree, Lutz qualified for this prestigious award on the strength of his accomplishments and past leadership roles, including being captain of the baseball team at Penn State, an ESPN Academic All American, and the multiple leadership roles he has held since joining the military. These include two terms as Company Grade Officer Council President and Protestant Advisory Council President.
Lutz said, "Going back to Penn State for this ceremony was an amazing experience. Just from going up there for the award, I already have received three or four new opportunities to get involved mentoring current students. This just goes to show that when you make yourself available, follow through and get involved with things outside of your job, people recognize that."
The Alumni Board wasn't the only group of people that agreed he should have received this award. Maj. Emily Dietrich, 628th Medical Group pharmacy flight commander, supported the decision wholeheartedly.
"Lutz's work ethic, professional experience, dedication to lifelong learning, military and civic efforts, commitment to physical fitness and successes in the Air Force make him an exceptional officer and leader worthy of representing Pennsylvania State University and the Emerging Professional's Award," Dietrich said, "He inspires all of those around him to do and be our very best."
Receiving this award was a major accomplishment for Lutz, offering him many future opportunities and new perspectives.
"I don't think I received this award because of me, but because of those who mentored, guided, and pushed me while in school and in the years I have served in the Air Force. I certainly wouldn't have been given this award without their care and support." Lutz said.