186 ARW Airmen recognized by Air Force Association Published June 2, 2013 By Capt Steven Stubbs 186 ARW Public Affairs Office Meridian, Miss. -- The Meridian Chapter of the Air Force Association honored three members of the 186th Air Refueling Wing for earning Airman of the Year at its annual meeting May 31, 2013. The three honorees were nominated by their unit based on his or her exceptional performance in the following areas: leadership and job performance in primary duty, significant self-improvement and base or community involvement. Keynote speaker Congressman Gregg Harper applauded the award recipients for their resiliency, dedication to duty and for staying the course no matter the circumstances. He compared them to the men and women of the 186th Air Refueling Wing as news of the KC-135 Stratotankers returning to Key Field became a reality. "There is a large measure of electricity in the air today," Harper pointed out. "This base and the men and women who serve our country here have been through so much. They have done the mission no matter what it was and it is in large part due to them the tankers are coming to Meridian, where they belong." Senior Airman Christian Runyon received the Outstanding Airman of the Year award for his excellent performance, outstanding professional skill, knowledge and leadership as an Electro-Environmental Journey man in support of the 186th Maintenance Squadron. Airman Runyon currently attends the University of Mississippi and supports community charities, religious activities and civic organizations in Oxford and Lauderdale County. Staff Sergeant Benjamin Weil attained the Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award. Sergeant Weil volunteered for a six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as an air traffic controller representing the 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron where his professionalism and attention to detail prevailed. He is continuously increasing his skills through training and professional education and volunteers his time with local food kitchens and Habitat for humanity. Master Sergeant Deborah Fielder accepted the Outstanding Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the year award. Sergeant Fielder's exceptional skill and knowledge as the Unit Training Manager for the 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron is essential to the behind the scenes operation. Sergeant Fielder serves the Key Field and local community as the president of the Key Field NCO association since 2009 and acts as the State Scholarship Chairperson since 2008.