Sheppard member recognized as one of Wichita Falls' 20 under 40

by Airman 1st Class Adawn Kelsey
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

1/28/2011 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A Sheppard civil service employee was recognized Jan. 25 at the Kemp Center for the Arts as a rising star in the civic leadership.

Eric West, 82nd Training Wing Training Operations oversight training flow manager, was named as one of Wichita Falls' 20 under 40. The program is designed to single out and recognize 20 of the city's community leaders of tomorrow who are under the age of 40.

Mr. West was one of 61 nominees selected by a seven-member panel of judges made up of local businesses and community leaders.

A civic leadership organization put Mr. Weston this path when he participated in Leadership Wichita Falls in 2008.

"It opened my eyes to what all really goes on in our community," he said. "I've since made an extra effort to look for needs within Wichita Falls and do my part to help."

Mr. West and his wife are both from the area, and decided that Wichita Falls is where they wanted to live, work and raise their children. He said it is important to support the city he lives in.

"We both spend time volunteering in the community for many reasons," he said. "Since we've made Wichita Falls our home, we want to do what we can to continue to make it better for those who live here."

He said setting the example for his three daughters is one of his top priorities.

"I want to set the example that no matter how busy you think you are, you can still make time to give back," Mr. West said. "My wife and I work full time and the kids are involved in activities of their own. It's challenging to fit in our community involvement too - but it's too important not to. We are about the busiest family I know, but we wouldn't want it any other way."

Mr. West said he speaks for the community when he says "we are proud to have Sheppard Air Force Base here."

"This base means so much to the Wichita Falls community, and not just economically," he said. "The economic impact to this area is huge, but Sheppard also brings in some of the finest people from around the country right to us. I love working with them and around them."

He said it is always a good feeling when he speaks to military members who are looking to retire in the area.

"Every time that happens, it just makes our community stronger," he said. "I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to work at Sheppard, and I plan to spend my career here. I look forward to more opportunities to help lead this base and its mission forward and to keep the community relationship strong."