Pathfinder awarded MAJCOM Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2023

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Zima
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs
Jennifer Gerena, 423d Force Support Squadron child and youth services flight chief, has been recognized for her leadership and dedication. Recently awarded the U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa’s 2023 OAY for the Civilian Category IV of the Year (Supervisory) award, Gerena credits her success to her team’s hard work and commitment.

“It’s nice to be recognized for your hard work, but I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the hard work of my team and everything we do daily,” said Gerena. “We’re small but mighty.”

Gerena’s leadership was particularly evident during the opening of a new teen center and the reopening of a CDC classroom that had been closed for an extended period. Despite challenges, Gerena’s team persevered, demonstrating their resilience and dedication.

As the overseer of various facilities, including the child development center, youth center, and teen center, Gerena played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of these programs. She highlighted the significance of community support and leadership in facilitating their growth and success.

“The child and youth programs have grown as a team over the last year, and we are learning from each other and blossoming as a program,” said Gerena. “I thank the leadership and the people who support our program to help it be what it is. We’re also grateful that our families entrust us to care for their babies.”

Gerena’s entire family is involved in the 423d FSS. Her spouse, Elwiss Gerena, works down the hall as the 423d FSS office automation assistant. Their two children have been in the child and youth programs since they were six weeks old. Gerena has a personal stake in the success of the programs she oversees.

Looking ahead, Gerena is committed to personal and professional growth. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in business, focusing on organizational management and leadership.

“I want to keep growing in the Air Force,” said Gerena. “I want to do my best and learn my job to the highest capabilities where I am, but I also have a passion for leadership growth and management.”

Gerena’s recognition as the MAJCOM Outstanding Airman of the Year is a testament to her leadership and the collective efforts of her team. Through collaboration, dedication, and a commitment to excellence, Gerena continues to make a lasting impact within the Air Force community.