Niagara Chaplain wins Top DOD award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kylar Vermeulen
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing

The U.S. Air Force Chief of Chaplains, Maj. Gen. Randall Kitchens, visited the 914th Air Refueling Wing during the drill weekend Apr. 1-2, 2023, to present a prestigious award as well tour the base and boost morale of its units.

Maj. Matthew Bryant, a 914th wing chaplain, recently won the Military Chaplains Association Distinguished Service Award which recognizes ministry excellence of chaplains across the Department of Defense and is presented annually during the MCA National Institute.

“Bryant was the top reserve applicant for this award and was selected to have it presented to him at the National Convention,” stated Kitchens. “He was unable to attend, so I received it on his behalf and now I am here to present it to him personally.”

The Significance: The MCA Distinguished Service Award was initiated in 1991 and is presented each year to recognize the excellency of chaplains within ministries of active duty and reserve across the Army, Air Force, Naval and Sea forces, (Marines and Coast Guard) Civil Air Patrol and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Why Bryant Received this award: It was no single thing that led to his recognition, but the cumulation of his career. The impact he has had on airmen serving as an Air Force chaplain and recommendations from his peers that left him as the top choice for the Air Force Reserve.

Bryant claims that although he took home the award and honors, it wasn’t his actions alone that led to winning the MCA, but also those that surround him at the NFARS chapel.

“Sometimes my name gets put onto some things we did as a team and it represents a team effort, what we are able to accomplish and how we have a unique service when it comes to caring-for and supporting our airmen”. Bryant said. “It’s an award that is born out of love, and I feel deep admiration and love for the airmen we serve together as a chapel team.”

During the award ceremony which took place at one of the Air Force Reserve's last chapels, Kitchens presented the MCA Award and Certificate to Bryant in front of his peers and leadership.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” Bryant stated at the end of the award ceremony.