Gurad names Mattson NCO of the yearNorth Dakota Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Heather Mattson of Jamestown grew up watching her dad serve in the N.D. Army National Guard. It was his experience in the Guard that made her want to be part of the Air National Guard. Now she has surpassed her father in one area. Mattson was named the Non-commissioned Officer of the Year for the 119th Wing March 2.
By: By Chris Olson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
North Dakota Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Heather Mattson of Jamestown grew up watching her dad serve in the N.D. Army National Guard.
It was his experience in the Guard that made her want to be part of the Air National Guard. Now she has surpassed her father in one area. Mattson was named the Non-commissioned Officer of the Year for the 119th Wing March 2.
“I was surprised when I heard my name announced,” Mattson said. “I was on the stage with the other nominees. Hearing my name called was amazing.”
The night was made even more special with her dad and mom, Wayne and Amy Prigge of Jamestown, in the audience to see her win the honor.
“My dad was in the Army National Guard for 16 years and going into the National Guard was something I really wanted to do,” she said.
Mattson’s husband Justin is also a member of 119th Wing and they have a nine-month old daughter.
Heather Mattson is the military equal opportunity specialist for the 119th Wing. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of North Dakota. She joined the Air National Guard after graduating from Jamestown High School in 2005.
Her civilian job is working as the state sexual assault response coordinator at the North Dakota National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters in Bismarck. She also volunteers in her community and serves as the secretary for the 119th Wing diversity council.
Wayne Prigge said he and Mattson talked all the time about his service in the National Guard when she was growing up.
“We are so proud,” he said. “I wasn’t ever nominated myself, but I did sit in on the interviews for the nominations when I served. You really have to dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘T.’ When they ask you a question, you have to know the answer. It’s very rigorous.”
Mattson said to even be nominated, and to come through that process and be in the final running, that is an honor just by itself.
“I’m happy I won,” she said. “But, when I was standing on stage, and saw all the people in that room, just to be in the presence of those people was an honor. The award, that was icing on the cake.”
Other award winners were Senior Airman Zachary Bjerke, Argusville, N.D., Outstanding Airman of the Year, and Master Sgt. William Kennedy, Fargo, N.D, Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year.
Brig. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, North Dakota deputy adjutant general said in a prepared statement that he was amazed by accomplishments of all the nominated airmen.
“It’s just amazing what these young men and women in our organization do and if we give them the tools they need, we can send the individuals down range and they will absolutely knock our socks off,” he said.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454
or by email at email@example.com