Civilian Airman continues to show dedicated service after 50 years

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Over 183,000 individuals who protect and serve the U.S. in the Air Force are civilian full-time, part-time, term, temporary, appropriated and non-appropriated fund Airmen.

One of those individuals is Elisa Quintero, 14th Force Support Squadron Youth Programs operations clerk, who has served 50 years for the Air Force and 18 years at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

Quintero began her career in civilian service on Aug. 12, 1968 as a wage grade employee at the San Antonio Air Material Area and moved to four other Air Force bases, working in various positions from a warehouse worker to an operations clerk.

“She’s been an asset to the entire Air Force for her entire career,” Andre Logan, 14th FSS Child and Youth Services flight chief. “Right now, she’s making opportunities and programs available for the youth assigned to the 14th FTW, which is great for a small base.”

Quintero has been a constant set of eyes on the youth programs and she noted that she enjoys working with kids a lot, saying it brings fun to her daily duties.

“I arrived here in April and immediately noticed that she had an immense handle on the duties and responsibilities of the program,” Logan said. “Our facility was without a youth programs director due to retirement and she was one of the ones that made sure that the financial processes and operations were in order during that time.”

Her work ethic and attitude is what defines Quintero. When she earned her 50-year pin in the Youth Center, every child stood silent and watched as the 14th FSS commander, Maj. Douglas Hickey, presented her with a Certificate of Service. After leadership thanked her for her service, the children clapped and ran to hug her.

“I’ve known her since 2000,” said Andrew Pace, 14th FSS logistics manager. “She worked at the Youth Center when I was in the program and I noticed that she’s always happy. Now I work with her and she always has the right attitude; helping others when she can, and improving herself if she runs into any issues … It was very exciting to see she was still around. She’s always easy to approach and I always enjoy being able to work with her.”

After 50 years, Quintero still smiles and cracks jokes with everyone in the office. She even walks around the Youth Center throughout the afternoon to play with the children.

“50 years of service and she’s one of the most energetic employees that I have,” Logan said. “She’s always there, always working, always getting the job done, so bottom line - it’s great to have her.”

Since Quintero became a part of the Air Force family, she has seen numerous bases, hundreds of leaders, and thousands of changes in Air Force Instructions, policies and other rules, but has rolled with everything. Her ability to learn, adapt and succeed was praised by each of her supervisors and the 14th FSS commander the day she received her 50-year pin.

“You know how much the Air Force changes,” Pace said. “It’s changed a lot since she started and she’s had to adapt so much, not everyone can take change well, but she has and it’s shows through her work and how successful she is. It’s amazing to watch her work because of that.”

Quintero was celebrated for her tremendous work day in and day out for the 14th FSS and the Team BLAZE family. Gratitude was expressed from all ranks, including the 14th Mission Support Group commander down to the Youth Programs children and youth participants.

“We truly do appreciate what you do here and for the families on Columbus Air Force Base and we hope you work here as long as you want,” Hickey told her after giving her the Certificate of Service. “You have made a positive impact for generations and we are grateful for your service.”