Peterson Airman goes above-and-beyond for deployed member

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- What does it mean to be an Airman? Or even be a wingman? Those at Peterson need only look at one individual: Senior Airman Cory Williams.

I am currently deployed overseas in support of the Global War on Terror. But I have left my family and loved ones at home. One of those I left behind is my wife, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer James, who was on temporary duty to the Vosler Non-Commissioned Officer Academy at Peterson. She was scheduled to graduate April 3 and I was trying feverishly to come up with a way to have some flowers presented to her at the graduation ceremony. I called several florists and they would not attempt such a feat. I knew it would be extremely difficult to make this happen with me being on the other side of the world and I didn't know anyone at Peterson except my wife.

The last day of the NCOA course is always a mess with the students having so much to do. As I was running out of thoughts, I decided to call the front desk at billeting to see if I could have the flowers delivered to the front desk and she could pick them up later. When I called, Airman Williams answered the phone.

When I explained to him what I was trying to accomplish, this young man volunteered to personally present my wife with the flowers. I couldn't believe it was coming together. But here's the real kicker: my father-in-law and two other civilian friends of ours were there also. Airman Williams came to my wife immediately after she received her diploma, put one knee on the floor and "with the most class" my civilian family and friends can remember seeing, spoke very heart-warming words on my behalf and presented my wife with the flowers.

I think this is an awesome example of service before self. But that's not the only thing. I tried to offer some form of repayment to Airman Williams, but he refused to let me send him an appreciation gift of some kind. Instead, this is what he told me in an e-mail he sent back to me afterward: "Sir, I would want someone to do the same for my wife if I was deployed. Please just take this as one Airman doing a good thing for another fellow Airman."

Where did this Airman come from? I think he embodies the core values of what it means to be an American Airman. This young man was extremely professional and voluntarily went out of his way for another fellow Airman. All I can say is this was just remarkable.

Editor's note: Senior Airman Cory Williams is assigned to the 21st Services Squadron. He is currently a lodging clerk at the Pikes Peak Lodge.