Lee’s Summit High School inducts 442d Fighter Wing member into hall of fame

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Missy Sterling

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Lee’s Summit High School welcomed five new members into its hall of fame April 9, including Lt. Col. Joseph Walter, the acting commander of the 442d Mission Support Group.

Walter’s nomination form is a full two-page, bulleted list of achievements that covers topics like his educational and military merits to his involvement in community service.

He has many notable honors, such as, being named Distinguished Graduate from the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Academy, receiving the Lieutenant General Leo Marquez and Gerrit D. Foster Jr. Awards for the Air Force Reserve Command and being named the Force Support Field Grade Officer of the Year for the Tenth Air Force.

However, what people can’t read on those pages is the impact he has made in the lives of those around him.

Chief Master Sgt. Cesar Ortiz, 442d Force Support Squadron Superintendent, has worked alongside Walter since the late 90s. He had no troubles giving examples of the impact Walter has made in other’s lives.

“The FSS went through a manpower study,” recalled Ortiz. “He (Walter) actively engaged the numbers to make sure they were right. It impacted quite a few positions within the unit.”

The manpower study is an analytical system designed to calculate the number of employees needed in a particular workforce. For some, it is a mathematical nightmare with plenty of room for miscalculations. Ortiz was impressed by the level of attention and drive Walter had to make sure the numbers were correct.

One office in particular was nearly reduced from four full-time employees to just one but Walter helped discover the reduction was a mistake.

“After looking at the numbers we found that there was actually a reduction from four to two,” said Ortiz. “That was a job that was saved. It goes to show the kind of person he is, making sure that people are taken care of right.”

Besides trying to save jobs, Walter has made efforts to enhance the careers of those around him by devoting his time to submitting nomination packages for his coworkers to receive recognition and awards. Ortiz said ultimately one person was selected for an annual Air Force Reserve Command personnel award.

Outside of the 442d FW, Walter has volunteered at the Richards-Gebaur Federal Credit Union and has been on their board of directors since 2009.

Ortiz noted how Walter’s participation with the R-G Federal Credit Union has allowed him to impact an even greater amount of people. One outreach the Credit Union does is giving out free gas to people one weekend a year.

“The credit union board camps outside of the Casey’s near base and anyone who pulls up basically gets a free tank of gas,” said Ortiz.

Many of Walter’s coworkers, neighbors and family members were glad to celebrate with him at the induction ceremony.

“I have had much time to reflect on my life and wondered how it led to my induction tonight,” said Walter in his speech. “It all comes down to the simple fact I have been blessed by being surrounded by great people who all played a part in my achievements. And everyone who has been a part of my life, each are inducted with me, because I did not do it alone.”

With Ortiz being among the crowd, Walter thanked the only member of his 442d FW family who was able to make it to his special night.

“Thank you for coming and sharing this special evening with me,” said Walter to Ortiz in his induction speech. “You and so many other of my Air Force family supported me in more ways than you will ever know. You still inspire me and give me purpose to serve.”