Display

Offutt Ambassador program shows motivation is contagious

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the newly remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5. Security forces members are starting a new program to enhance their customer service skills to align with their defender abilities. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the newly remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5. Security forces members are starting a new program to enhance their customer service skills to align with their defender abilities. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the newly remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5. Airman Thompson has been mentioned by numerous Team Offutt members for his upbeat and enthusiastic approach that each commuter experiences going through his line. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the newly remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5. Airman Thompson has been mentioned by numerous Team Offutt members for his upbeat and enthusiastic approach that each commuter experiences going through his line. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the newly remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5. Thousands of vehicles move through the three main entry gates each day. Airman Thompson along with colleagues ensure smooth and secure access to Offutt. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith Thompson, 55th Security Forces Squadron, checks Identification at the newly remodeled and expanded Strategic Command Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 5. Thousands of vehicles move through the three main entry gates each day. Airman Thompson along with colleagues ensure smooth and secure access to Offutt. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger/Released)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Over the last several months, you may have noticed some changes in the way you are greeted as you enter Offutt Air Force Base.

Since August 2012, a selected group of active duty and civilian guards, referred to as the Offutt Ambassadors, have worked "to provide excellent customer service while granting access to our installation," according to Tech. Sgt. Noland Noble, 55th Security Forces Squadron.

Those who stand guard at the Offutt gates still defend the entry and exits to base, but they are doing so by exercising customer service skills along with their warrior ethos.

The Offutt Ambassador program was a joint effort by the 55th SFS and U.S. Strategic Command, and the feedback provided by those who encounter these ambassadors has shown the program to be "an overwhelming success," Noble said.

One ambassador who has received the most feedback is Airman 1st Class Keithroshaun Thompson. For those who work on base or visit base frequently, you may know Thompson for his upbeat attitude, even in the early hours of the morning, and his common phrase "have an air-tastic day" as you enter onto base.

"They appreciate his motivation so early in the morning and how he continues that motivation throughout the workday," Noble said. "In fact, some have stated he helps keep them motivated. Customers will be in other lanes and will yell for Airman 1st Class Thompson just to say hi when he is checking IDs in another lane."

And having a motivated attitude is second nature to this defender.

"Your attitude in the morning, or any shift, can be the big factor on how their day turns out," Thompson said. "If you have a positive and motivated attitude, then they're going to have a positive and motivated attitude. It takes more energy to be angry than happy is what I've always been told and it's true."

Thompson's work as an Offutt Ambassador has prompted feedback from civilians to commanders, according to Capt. Jamie Hernandez, Jr., 55th SFS operations officer. Hernandez spends his mornings reading through emails from those who encountered Thompson's big personality and has joked that Thompson's good work has caused more work for him.

"The amount of positive feedback our unit receives for [Thompson] and the ambassador section is overwhelming," Hernandez said. "He is definitely a role model to all of Team Offutt. To see a young man with such a great attitude represent Offutt Air Force Base and knowing that his brief interaction with the public may be the only opportunity to represent security forces and the U.S. Air Force is something he has deep pride in."

Thompson has spent his short Air Force career as a gate guard at Offutt, and he truly enjoys his job.

"I really enjoy being an ambassador due to the very fact you are the first person people see every day before they come to work at Offutt," Thompson said. I get to interact with a lot of amazing people. I like to be engaged and working with others, and the ambassador program is the perfect outlet to work with people and be engaged with the public."