Find your Linda Miller

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- The Thanksgiving season is here! Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and a time to give thanks for what we have and for what our future holds. One of my family's Thanksgiving traditions is giving everyone at the dinner table a chance to say what they are thankful for. This year I am going to say I am thankful for having known and worked with Linda Miller. She taught me lessons on how to live and how to care for my family and my co-workers.

Earlier this month, Linda lost a very sudden and devastating battle with cancer. Linda, a single mom and a GS-6, worked for many years in the 914th Operations Group taking care of the mundane day-to-day tasks that need to be done so the 914th AW can function and turn out high quality combat leaders. Linda toiled in obscurity and asked for nothing in return. She was completely selfless and epitomized the Air Force core values of service, excellence and integrity. Look at your squadron; who is your Linda Miller?

Linda's work ethic is one to emulate. I took a task from her once and gave it to someone else. Linda had accepted an enormous number of jobs that fall into the "other duties as assigned" category, and I wanted to give her a break. She complained bitterly. I had never had anyone complain about having work taken away. Preparing for our most recent Unit Compliance Inspection, Linda helped others in the wing get ready. Because of Linda, the wing scored high grades in the areas she was involved with. Despite being sick and knowing she was dying, Linda took work home with her so the wing did not fall behind. This was typical Linda: faithful servant and a loving mother. Who in your squadron is like this?

We saw Linda at her desk at midnight or on weekends, thanklessly toiling away so we could deploy. We saw her on the mobility line, working and saying goodbye to her troops. Linda came to work every day, keeping the squadron running, even if everyone else was deployed. She didn't need a boss to stand over her to make certain she did her job; she just did it. When we came home from the war, she was the first one we saw on the line welcoming us back. Later, she sat in the audience applauding when our troops were recognized with medals. There are many people in our wing who do not wear the uniform, yet work very hard and are so very valuable and important to our mission and combined success. Take the time to thank them for their service to our wing and to our nation.

At Niagara Falls ARS we take pride in our work ethic, and it sets us apart from others. Linda had that work ethic. She was once described as a "pack mule," meaning someone who you could keep loading with work as she carried our squadron on her back. There more than 1,200 people in this wing. We shouldn't have "pack mules" in any squadron. Find your Linda Miller and help him or her. It will only make us stronger. The best teams are the ones where everyone works together for one common goal.

Work, learn, lead. Every time you leave NFARS, whether you wear a uniform or not, are a civilian or a contractor, you should ask yourself this question: what have I done today to make my squadron, the Air Force and our Nation stronger? Linda always had answers to that question.

May you and your family have a wonderful, safe and joyous Thanksgiving. When you sit at your Thanksgiving table this year, please take the time to remember Linda and keep our deployed men and women in your thoughts and prayers.