Thanks to U.S. Senior Airman Lindsey Mahfouz of Lincoln, 52nd Security Forces Squadron members will be able to honor those members who lost their lives while in duty.
Mahfouz volunteered to when U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tamara Mayer, 52nd Security Forces Squadron commander, discovered that some members didn’t know about nine members who lost their lives since 9/11.
Mayer asked some of her airmen to help find a way to better educate the 52nd about the nine fallen members.
Mayer said the initial idea was to create a wall of honor featuring each individual’s framed photo with background information about them. It was slated to be displayed in a small room in the squadron but that plan changed quickly when Mahfouz volunteered to take the project on.
Mahfouz wanted to create something “that would grab everyone’s attention as they walked by.”
“She ran with the idea,” said Mayer of the energetic young airman. “What it became was all her– she did an outstanding job with it.”
Mahfouz gave the project a facelift. Rather than displaying just the photos and biographies in a room, Mahfouz transformed the idea of a wall of honor into a memorial hall of honor. It sits in a high-traffic hallway.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Ackerman, who assisted her with the project said, “Mahfouz won’t take all the credit for it but this was definitely all her. She took the task and made it her own. She did 95 percent of the work on this project but she still kept everyone involved by asking for their input on her ideas.”
Mahfouz said she and Ackerman began the memorial project by looking up information about each individual, finding photos and brainstorming new ideas. Some information proved more difficult to find and that’s when she turned to the entire squadron for help.
“Researching easily took us more than a month and it was probably the hardest part because we had to find information about each fallen member,” Mahfouz said. “For some individuals, we could barely find their date of birth.”
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Lloyd Evans, from Austin, Texas, served with 1st Lt. Joseph Dennis Helton Jr., from Monroe, Ga., during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Helton was killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device attack on Sept. 8, 2009.
Evans said he “was touched” when he found out about this memorial.
“Words can’t even describe what this means to me,” Evans said. “Lt. Helton was a great leader and this is a badge of honor for him. I know it would make him very proud.”
Mahfouz said that Evans helped her and Ackerman get the majority of the information needed to complete Helton’s biography.
“Making this together really made me appreciate my job a lot more. I like and enjoy it but it makes me appreciate the things that we do everyday more,” Mahfouz said. “I look at the memorial and what we’ve done, what our brothers and sisters passed away for and just think to myself ‘our job, what they did, their sacrifice is important.’”
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Robert Degennaro said that Mahfouz created a legacy of their fallen comrades and, by doing so, displayed what it means to implement the Air Force core values beyond the call of duty.