158th Fighter Wing’s Lavigne Honored as Air National Guard Medical Services Biomedical Equipment Repair Airman of the Year 2019
By Julie M. Shea, 158th Fighter Wing
/ Published June 11, 2020
Vermont Air National Guard --
Every year, the Air National Guard Medical Services acknowledges Airmen across the medical group (MDG) with an awards program, recognizing both individual and team efforts in multiple categories. This year, Staff Sgt. Matthew Lavigne, a biomedical equipment technician assigned to the 158th MDG, Vermont Air National Guard, was nominated and selected as the 2019 Air National Guard Medical Services Biomedical Equipment Repair Airman of the Year for this work with the State Partnership Program (SPP) during fiscal year 2019.
“I was surprised by the award. I went on several trips to Senegal and basically, we were working in different hospitals and different regions of that country. My job was to repair a lot of their medical equipment. You’d see a lot of broken-down medical equipment in the hallways, or stuff that was barely broken but needed a little attention. [Medical supplies] are very scarce, they’re hard to come by. Three weeks never really seemed like enough,” recalled Lavigne.
Over the course of four trips to different regions of Senegal, including Ziguinchor, Tambacounda, Kolda, and Dakar, Lavigne’s work ethic and technical excellence in repairing a variety of medical equipment were deemed invaluable by his superiors, warranting an AF Form 1206 “Nomination for Award” submission to the National Guard Bureau (NGB) for recognition.
“Sgt. Lavigne always places the mission above himself. He epitomizes the Air Force core values. He willingly takes assignments to support the SPP mission. Since the SPP mission is considered a joint mission, he works seamlessly with the VT Army National Guard to ensure goals and objectives are met,” reflected Senior Master Sgt. Georgia Powell, 158th MDG health systems specialist.
When not serving in uniform, Lavigne, a traditional guardsman, works full-time as an imaging repair technician for a private healthcare company. When asked about the connection between his military service and his civilian career, Lavigne stated:
“The 158th Fighter Wing has provided me training in the biomedical equipment technician (BMET) field and facilitated me to use that training to help others in need. Some of the most rewarding opportunities I have had are the trips to different regions in Senegal. I am very proud to be part of this team and to be called a Green Mountain Boy.”
Awards are typically given out during the annual NGB/SG Medical Readiness University (MRU) in August. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MRU has been cancelled this year.