Team McChord Reservist wins Citizen-Soldier award

By Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle on April 23, 2012

Receiving tributes is the last thing on Staff Sgt. Ralph Godinez's mind when he submerges himself in community service activities. In fact, seeing the results his efforts produce is more than enough appreciation in his eye.

However, fellow Airmen in his Reserve unit felt his efforts needed to be shared with society. So, they nominated him as the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year- the same award he will accept at the Kiwanis Club of Tacoma luncheon, April 24, 2012 at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Tacoma Seattle.

"Sergeant Godinez is an invaluable member of the 728th Airlift Squadron 'Flying Knights' family," said Lt. Col. Richard Poston, 728th AS commander in Godinez's nomination letter. "His dedication to duty and achievements go above and beyond what is expected."

Godinez, who was also recognized by his peers last year by selecting him as the 728th AS Most Valuable Performer Award winner, won the Citizen-Soldier award for going the extra mile in both his Reserve career and personal life.

The Graham, Wash. resident is best known for founding Café dos Ninas, a non-profit coffee stand, in which all proceeds go to support families affected by Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, with biannual funds going to the Evergreen Healthcare Foundation. Since its inception eight years ago, the café has donated more than $20,000.

To add more irons to the fire, Godinez's list of community involvement includes: membership in the Air Force Sergeants' Association, volunteering and coordinating youth events for the Northwest Fellowship Children's ministry, coaching youth soccer, and helping third-grade students with reading.

As an Air Force Reservist, he's responsible for ensuring the readiness of all 120 people in his squadron by making sure documents and equipment are up to date, so they are ready to deploy worldwide, with short notice. He tracks surplus equipment and items, saving the squadron thousands of dollars a year. Godinez also keeps unit members in touch with current events while they work in the civilian force.

This is the second straight year a Reservist with the 446th Airlift Wing has earned the award.