TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Tyndall Air Force Base is home to many incredible Airmen. This is solidified by an Airman who has already gone above and beyond early in his career.
Senior Airman Thomas Hill, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector, is a stand-out Airman who was humbled to receive the John L. Levitow award upon his completion of Airman Leadership School, the highest award presented to a graduate of Air Force Enlisted Professional Military Education.
“It’s an honor to have been selected,” said Hill. “I was just being myself in class. I was just trying to actually grasp and understand the material.”
When it comes to Hill’s motivation, he credits his four-year-old daughter.
“She’s beautiful and so very smart,” said Hill. “Any move I make, I make with her in mind. She motivates me because she didn’t ask to be here. She is my world and heart in human form.”
Hill teared up as he accepted his award, hand in hand with his daughter.
“It is just my daughter and me,” said Hill. “She was so patient with my studying and being distracted. I can’t thank her enough for everything she does.”
According to Hill, balancing ALS and his duties as a single parent meant he had to find new ways to spend time with his daughter, who he says is his best friend.
“Throughout the course I had to alter our normal routine a little to knock out assignments,” said Hill. “Sometimes I would try to complete assignments and reading material on my lunch breaks, which in turn made me exhausted by the time I went to pick my daughter up. I felt bad because my daughter is used to dad being able to entertain her and being energized.”
Hill, now age 24, married his high school sweetheart at the age of 18. Once the marriage ended, he took on the challenge of raising his daughter as a single father in the military.
“There are many challenges that come with raising my daughter alone,” said Hill. “Like her hair. I don’t know how to braid hair. Watching out for predators is a big challenge too, I want to protect my daughter with every ounce of me. The only break I get is when she goes back to visit with family. I don’t trust just anybody when it comes to watching my child.”
Through all the challenges that come with parenting, support from an Airman’s leadership is critical in allowing flexibility for child care. Hill says his leadership is a major part of the reason he is able to be there for his daughter.
“My leadership rocks for allowing me the schedule to even keep my daughter,” said Hill. “Leadership will help you beyond your imagination if you simply communicate your issues and be firm in doing so.”