ITTA BENA, Miss— Michael Clark is a man of service. His desire to work in a capacity that allows him to help people is evident in his everyday life as a residence hall director at Mississippi Valley State University, but perhaps even more so in his service to the United States of America in the Air Force Reserves.
On Jan. 7, Clark, a Staff Sergeant of the 307 Security Forces Squadron stationed in Bossier City, La (Barksdale Air Force Base), received exciting news when U.S. Air Force Col. Robert VanHoy, 307th Bomb Wing commander, presented him with the Wing's “Airman of the Year” award during a commander's call.
The 32-year-old Tchula native will now represent the wing during the “Airman of the Year” competition at 10th Air Force from March 26-29 in St. Augustine, Fla.
Clark received the distinction from a pool of nine other Airman. From the final three contenders, he was selected as the winner.
"Winning this award means a lot to me. It's a great accolade. I am very happy, and my unit is pleased. A lot of people have offered me congratulations," said Clark.
Clark, who is a 2010 and 2012 MVSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master's degree in criminal justice respectively, said his decision to join the Air Force was rooted in his desire for change.
"Coming from a small town the only thing I knew was basketball. Sometimes you have to make a turn in life and, after getting a master’s degree, I decided to join the military," he said. Once I joined the military it was something I knew I would enjoy and something that gave me the opportunity to see the world. It also offered me a way to take care of my daughter, Jordan.”
During his time at Valley, Clark was a member of the Delta Devils basketball team. Being a part of the team and being a part of the military drew a lot of similarities.
"Playing basketball, you work together to accomplish a goal. If you are an athlete, the transition to military life is not that much different. Although I didn't know what I was getting into, I had enough courage to face the challenge that was ahead of me," he said.
With six years in the Air Force already, Clark's goal is to remain until he reaches 20 years of service and to retire.
Clark will graduate from Valley with his second masters in Sports Administration in May 2018.