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YARS Reserve Citizen Airman honors Mercer County

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Dennis Best, a Reserve Citizen Airman assigned to the 76th Aerial Port Squadron and a sheriff’s deputy for Mercer County, presented a Pennsylvania state flag to the Mercer County Commissioners board on September 13, 2018, at the Mercer County Courthouse.

Best had the Pennsylvania state flag flown over Afghanistan and Kuwait on a C-17 Globemaster III while serving his six-month deployment in Southwest Asia.

Upon receiving the flag, the chairman of the Mercer County Commissioners board Matthew McConnell said, “We are humbled to be honored by Airman Best when we are the ones that should be honoring him for his service.”

In an interview after the presentation Best was asked by a reporter, “What made you keep Mercer County in mind even while you were over there? Why do this for the county?”

“Because I’m very grateful to the people of Mercer County for the support they’ve given me,” said Best. “My home is here, my family is here, I’ve spent many years in law enforcement here in Mercer County. It’s very near and dear to my heart.”

“His heart’s at one hundred percent,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Masotto, a fellow Reserve Citizen Airman with the 76th APS and police officer with Best. “They were really excited about getting honored, but it was more of an honor on his part giving it to them. It’s not about us, it’s about serving something bigger than us, and he understands that.”

Best also surprised Roni Shilling, acting sheriff for Mercer County, prior Air Force service member and longtime supporter of Best joining the Air Force Reserve, with a 76th APS coin.

“It’s a wonderful honor that he gave this to me. These are sacred, and coming from his unit, it means the world to me,” said Shilling. “I’ve always been proud of him for doing his military career. I was very supportive and very happy when he said that he was going to sign up. I always backed him. I was prior military myself, and when an individual will voluntarily give themselves to the military, to the armed forces of the United States, I think it’s an honor they’re doing something for their country and the other citizens where they live.”

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