FAIRBORN — The Knights of Columbus finalized the presentation of this year’s Blue Coat Awards, which have taken on a new form due to COVID-19.
Last week, the Knights of Columbus presented Staff Sgt. Philip Mason with the Wright-Patt Air Force Base Security Forces Officer of the Year Award.
Mason is the 88th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog (MWD) Trainer, stationed at Wright-Patt. Mason joined the Air Force in August 2008 as a Security Forces member and arrived at WPAFB in September 2017. Mason has handled more than 1,000 explosive detection incidents, and leads daily canine operations for eight Military Working Dog Teams. He has also joined forces with several law enforcement agencies over the years and has led joint training with 20 local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to help improve dog team proficiency.
Other Blue Coat awards for military members had been delayed due to COVID-19. Earlier this month, the Knights presented Lt. Aaron Chaney with the WPAFB Firefighter of the Year Award, and presented M. Sgt. Sharina Elrod with the Wounded Warrior of the Year Award.
Chaney has worked with the Air Force Fire Department since 2013, when he was brought on as part of the SKEP Program at Sinclair Community College. He has been on several motor vehicle incidents, including crashes where individuals were trapped in their vehicles. Chaney has also been part of the attack crews on structural fires, and has been part of a response to a Suicide by Hazmat.
Chaney also saved the life of one of his fellow firefighters. During a routine breakfast, another firefighter began choking, and Chaney was able to perform the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the obstructing food.
Elrod has served 22 years in the Air Force, many of which she spent overseas. She was serving a one-year tour in Qatar when she first noticed signs of illness. Later, while stationed at Ramstein AFB in Germany, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a diagnosis that changed her life. With the support of her husband, Chris, the help of her medical team, and through sheer resilience, Elrod was able to fight her medical evaluation board and successfully return back to active duty. Since then, she has joined the Wounded Warrior program and has become an ambassador, sharing her story about living with silent disabilities to both military and civilian personnel.
Former police chief Terry Barlow was also named Citizen of the Year during the same ceremony.
Barlow has been a law enforcement officer for 35 years. He began his career in April of 1984, serving as an Auxiliary Police Officer for the City of Xenia. In 1985, he began as a police officer for the City of Fairborn, and has earned numerous awards and certifications over the course of his service. Barlow has been a member of Fairborn Rotary and Fairborn Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Board of Directors for the Agencies for Combined Enforcement Drug Task Force, the Regional Emergency Response Team Board of Directors, the Michael’s House Steering Committee and the Greene County Local Corrections Board.
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