Saber awarded National Safety Council Rising Stars of Safety Award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chance Nardone
  • 52 Fighter Wing

Earlier this year, an Airman assigned to Spangdahlem was the only Department of Defense member to be recognized by the National Safety Council as one of 38 “Rising Stars of Safety.”

Senior Master Sgt. Victorio Gutierrez, 52nd Fighter Wing Safety Office superintendent, has a proven track record of workplace safety, leadership and dedication to continuous improvement.

“He is always the safety professional who brings more to the table,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Yerger, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa safety functional manager. “He is a great example for others to follow when looking at how to establish relationships with other components of the Air Force in order to accomplish the mission.”

Gutierrez credited those who’ve mentored him over his career, and also attributed his success and recognition to his team members.

“My team is intrinsically motivated,” said Gutierrez. “We’ve built an office where safety professionals don’t walk to work; they run. They truly enjoy helping others, and being engaged in our Wing’s priorities and operations. My team truly amazes me every day.”

The award recognizes those who demonstrate a personal value in safe operations and cultivating a safety minded culture in their workcenters.

“Providing training, getting supervisors and Airmen to buy into working safely is the number one way to change a safety culture,” said Gutierrez.

One example of cultivating that culture is the unit's recent approval to teach the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification course.  The 10 and 30-hour courses allow Airmen in-depth training on hazard recognition. Once completed, the Airmen receive their OSHA completion card from the Department of Labor.

As the superintendent, Guiterrez oversees several 52nd FW Safety Office functions.

Weapons safety mitigates risks due to explosive activities, flight safety performs airfield and aircraft maintenance evaluations and inspections, the base hunter and falconer keep wildlife away from the airfield to reduce aircraft strike hazards, occupational safety inspects facilities and equipment and provides education and training to ensure work centers are safe, and traffic safety manages programs that provide Airmen education and training specific to road hazards and conditions in Germany.

“The safety career field is amazing,” said Gutierrez.  “It literally made my military career a passion.”

(Editor’s note: Information from an Air Force Safety Center Public Affairs release was used in this article.)