By Kisha Foster Johnson, Robins Public Affairs

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Lightning struck twice for the 78th Medical Group at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The group received the United States Air Force Surgeon General Award for Clinic of the year and USAF Best Ambulatory Clinic Patient Safety Program for 2020.

Col. Brian Moore, 78th Air Base Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Labrador, 78th ABW command chief, paid a surprise visit to the clinic to congratulate the unit March 1, 2021.

“Congratulations; this is well deserved,” said Moore. “These honors speak volumes to what you are doing especially during a global pandemic. This is a testament to how this team provides excellent service to the many people who walk through the clinic doors each day.”

The Air Force Medical Service states the goal of the awards “is to recognize individuals and teams whose outstanding actions contribute to the delivery of trusted healthcare, continuous process improvement, promotion of well-being, and expeditionary medical operations worldwide”.

Col. Dale Harrell, 78th MDG commander, said this award is the culmination of being focused and having a sincere dedication to the job.

“The people I work with are amazing and outstanding. Every day I come to work and solve problems with them. This is a special group of medics, and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Harrell. “This is a big team award and that makes this so special. They looked at our accomplishments and felt we were the best.”

The Air Force Medical Service Award aims to acknowledge superior job performance, innovative operations and exceptional teamwork.

According to Harrell, the clinic was the first group in the Air Force Sustainment Center to develop contact tracing cells across the installation for 14 squadrons and developed the wing’s first COVID transport plan. A plan which served as an Air Force Materiel Command benchmark for seven bases.

“Your collective efforts paid off in this year of a pandemic,” said Labrador. “To know all of the Air Force medical groups were doing a lot of great work, but you stood out and that’s no surprise. Congratulations.”

Also during the visit, Moore recognized several individuals for their contributions and presented his commander’s coin to Senior Airman Megan Stahl, 78th Health Care Operations medical technician; Tech Sergeant Pedro Santos-Rabelo, 78th Medical Support Squadron unit deployment manager; Captain Kristina Friley, 78th Medical Group practice manager; and Elaine Scott, 78th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Registered Nurse.