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Wyoming Air National Guard recruiter receives heritage award

Tech. Sgt. Iris Honrado, Wyoming Air National Guard production recruiter, received the Federal Asian-Pacific American Heritage Council's Meritorious Service Award at a ceremony held in Long Beach, Calif., May 8, 2013.

Tech. Sgt. Iris Honrado, Wyoming Air National Guard production recruiter, received the Federal Asian-Pacific American Heritage Council's Meritorious Service Award at a ceremony held in Long Beach, Calif., May 8, 2013.

Tech. Sgt. Iris Honrado, Wyoming Air National Guard production recruiter, receives the Federal Asian-Pacific American Heritage Council's Meritorious Service Award from Deputy Adjutant General-Air Brig. Gen. Harold Reed, and Brig. Gen. Jim Chow, Air National Guard special assistant to the director, at a ceremony held in Long Beach, Calif., May 8, 2013. The FAPAC MSA recognizes military members who foster an innovative and harmonious environment between the military and the Asian Pacific American civilian community and assist the work force in overcoming discrimination and eliminating barriers that hinder equal opportunity for APAs and other minorities in the armed forces. (Courtesy photo)

Tech. Sgt. Iris Honrado, Wyoming Air National Guard production recruiter, receives the Federal Asian-Pacific American Heritage Council's Meritorious Service Award from Deputy Adjutant General-Air Brig. Gen. Harold Reed, and Brig. Gen. Jim Chow, Air National Guard special assistant to the director, at a ceremony held in Long Beach, Calif., May 8, 2013. The FAPAC MSA recognizes military members who foster an innovative and harmonious environment between the military and the Asian Pacific American civilian community and assist the work force in overcoming discrimination and eliminating barriers that hinder equal opportunity for APAs and other minorities in the armed forces. (Courtesy photo)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Diversity is a term we hear frequently in the military. We are encouraged to recognize the contributions of all individuals, from all cultures, that make up the military's uniquely diverse landscape.

For the Wyoming Air National Guard, Tech. Sgt. Iris Honrado, production recruiter, exemplifies diversity in the work place. Her contributions to developing cultural awareness in the military and specifically the Wyoming ANG were recently recognized by the Federal Asian-Pacific American Council, during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

On May 8, Honrado traveled to Long Beach, Calif., where she was awarded the FAPAC Meritorious Service Award.

"This award is so important to me because it symbolizes the hard work and opportunities available to all of us," said Honrado. "The opportunities are there and it is our own self-motivation and our ability to want to lead those below us and be advisers to those above us that will help us accomplish our dreams."

The FAPAC MSA recognizes military members who foster an innovative and harmonious environment between the military and the Asian Pacific American civilian community and assist the work force in overcoming discrimination and eliminating barriers that hinder equal opportunity for APAs and other minorities in the armed forces.

"She is such an energetic and giving individual who exudes so much joy and cohesiveness that she is the ultimate definition of diversity," said Master Sgt. Brandi Matzek, 243d Air Traffic Control Squadron first sergeant. "She welcomes and accepts everyone and purposely seeks out those who need her enthusiasm to feel the sense of belonging that we all strive for."

Honrado was born in Sagay Negros Occidental, Philippines, where she said, "Everyone's main goal in life was to make it to America for a better life."

She moved to America with her family and took full advantage of all the country's opportunities, becoming a United States citizen in 2001 and joining the U.S. Air Force in November 2001.

Honrado served throughout the world until 2009, winning multiple awards for her dedication and outstanding duty performance.

Since joining the Wyoming ANG in 2009, Honrado has dedicated her time and effort to significantly increasing the success of many local associations including: the Air Force Sergeants Association, Enlisted National Guard Association of the United States, Wyoming National Guard Association and by serving as the president of the 153rd Airlift Wing Rising Six Council.

Honrado also spearheaded the Asian Awareness celebration during May's Unit Training Assembly at Joint Forces Headquarters, Wyo.

The event highlighted foods and culture of the Asian-Pacific heritage.

"The event received rave reviews," said Matzek. "I even considered going up and learning the dances that she and the other ladies were doing, she is such an inspiration to all."

Honrado is not taking the honor lightly.

"The military has shown me, as a female Asian-American that regardless of the struggles my family and I have gone through I can achieve anything as long as I always remember my heritage and what America has done for me, especially the U.S. Air Force and the Wyoming Air National Guard," said Honrado.