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News | Oct. 24, 2022

Military Members of the Year Compete in San Diego

By Derrik Noack HQ USMEPCOM

The 2022 USMEPCOM Military Members of the Year (MMOY) competition brought the final 10 contenders to San Diego for a week of mental and physical challenges. After competing through the levels of command, five military personnel from each Sector faced off to claim MMOY for their rank.

This year’s winners are Company Grade Officer Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Addisen Rutkoske (Chicago MEPS), Battalion SEA Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Mark Welling (Montgomery MEPS), MEPS SEA Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Ioana Wolfinger (New Orleans MEPS), Senior NCO Navy Chief Petty Officer Eugene Nixdorf (San Antonio MEPS) and Junior NCO Petty Officer 2nd Class Antionette Ward (Atlanta MEPS).

“The service members here reflect the values of Freedom’s Front Door beyond expectations, and they deserve all the recognition and praise,” said Army Col. Megan Stallings, USMEPCOM commander, during the awards presentation. “This past year has not been easy, but you have upheld all of our command values and been indispensable members of our USMEPCOM team. Your integrity, teamwork, professionalism and respect have enriched your work environments and strengthened our all-volunteer force.”

The competition may have been fierce, but contenders supported each other and built a genuine camaraderie during their time in San Diego. When not participating in events like fitness tests and formal boards, competitors were able to share experiences and lessons with each other. 
“I enjoyed getting to know the other competitors,” said Navy Senior Chief Ioana Wolfinger, Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Year. “We all got along very well. I learned different leadership styles and tips that I will take with me.”

Aside from lasting friendships, the reassurance and self-pride gained throughout the course of events is a major takeaway for most competitors. 
“I learned how to be more confident in myself and my work,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Antionette Ward, Junior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. “I typically let the thoughts in my head get the best of me, but I just reminded myself I’m here for a reason.”