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Volunteer of the year has strong leadership qualities

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
What defines someone as a leader? Is it the endurance to do what it takes to get the job done? Maybe it's the courage to take on any problem.

For Airman 1st Class Jacob Beeman, 375th Communications Support Squadron computer systems programmer, it's by immersing himself in various roles around base, and trying to spread positive thinking and mentorship at every opportunity.

Growing up as an Air Force child, Beeman felt he always had potential to be a leader, but he also knew it took "training" and life "experience" to become an effective one.

"Through life, you get a lot of experiences where you get a chance to lead," said Beeman. "That's when you learn what kind of leader you are."

After four years of college and an attempt at the civilian life, he found that he yearned for more of a challenge. Seeing what the military does and what kind of leadership opportunities they offer, he decided to enlist.

"Civilian life seemed like it didn't fit me," he said. "I know the Air Force, so I knew what to expect."

In the United States military it is the duty of all servicemembers to follow the people appointed over them. Beeman recognizes and follows this rule, but also knows when to step up and assume a leadership position.

"It's true that you learn a lot from following, but there is no reason, what-so-ever, that an Airman can't route a solution up his chain of command," said Beeman.

The First Four president believes that since the Airmen have to work first hand with the issues that they might have a better idea on how to handle them.

"We are on the front lines, we are the ones who see the problems, and maybe we have thought of better solutions for them," said Beeman.
"I think that our younger Airmen have good ideas and solutions, but they need to have courage to step up and say something."

One of the lessons he tries to instill in others, especially the younger servicemembers, is to be confident. He expressed that everyone's opinion matters in the Air Force and that you shouldn't be afraid to speak your mind.

Along with having confidence, he also believes that setting goals for oneself is essential to become an effective leader. Education has taken priority as one of his personal goals. Helping out his community as much as possible has been one of his biggest and longest goals yet.

"I started volunteering while I was in middle school," he said. "It's about bettering yourself and your community."

Beeman has made it a point to volunteer at least once a month, but tries to as much as three or four times a month. In his first year alone, he volunteered over 50 times and earned the title of the 2011 375th Air Mobility Wing volunteer of the year.

Motivation behind consistently volunteering and for pushing himself to become a leader is one in the same.

"I just wanted to help people," said Beeman. "I wanted to step up and be part of the solution, not the problem."

For the Airman leader, he feels that the journey to being a perfect leader and mentor will never be finished.

"I still have a lot of room to grow and a lot of lessons to learn," he said