Reservist receives 2016 Ten Outstanding Young Americans award

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  • By 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
  • 442nd Fighter Wing
In 2011, Staff Sgt. Ryan Charrier joined the United States Air Force Reserve. He serves as a crew chief in the 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

Charrier has made it his life mission to provide a free vacation for combat veterans and their families after an overseas deployment. He decided to create a non-profit organization called, "Operation ReConnect."

The idea originated during his recent seven month deployment to Afghanistan. "A fellow service member brought to my attention that he and his family had never been on a true family vacation," Charrier said. "With that information, I brought in a network of incredible people from Gulf Shores, AL., and together we provided this family a free vacation to the Gulf Coast. At that moment, I realized it was my responsibility to take on the much neglected opportunity to help all combat veterans returning from a deployed environment. Operation ReConnect was born. I am honored to serve those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so we may all enjoy freedom."

Operation ReConnect provides returned deployers a week of family time with free accommodations.

The Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) program is an annual award given by The United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) organization. It is given to ten Americans between 18 and 40 years of age who "exemplify the best attributes of the nation’s young people."