Langley’s Airman of the Year cares for others — and stray kittens, too
By DAVE RESS | The Daily Press | Published: March 16, 2021
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Tribune News Service) — Coming back home after her first posting in Korea, Senior Airman Cheyenne Robertson is finding one more way to do what brought her into the Air Force in the first place: helping out.
The Newport News native, just named Airman of the Year at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, cares for the stray kittens her older brother Corey runs across on his construction job and then matches them with people seeking pets.
“He works on a lot of abandoned buildings, and he finds them there. He’ll bring them to me because he knows I’ll take care of them and find homes for them,” she said.
Robertson joined the Air Force looking for a career in health care. Her inspiration was her late grandfather, an Army veteran of Vietnam, and the stories he’d tell her.
Not war stories, though — he was a paratrooper, and “I had no desire to go jumping out of planes,” she said. “He’d tell me about the people, the kids, and helping them. That’s what I wanted to do, to help others.”
Her job now is in the resources and budget office at Langley’s base hospital. When over the past year that office was short a key person — a Technical Sergeant’s post — she stepped up to take on the extra work.
At the time, she was an Airman 1st Class, three steps down the ladder.
“My job is to make sure every clinic and department is funded,” she said. “I get around all over the hospital.”
She’s one of 1,340 staff at the 65-bed hospital, and after winning the top honor there was named Airman of Year for the base. There are nearly 15,000 active duty personnel at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
Robertson said she learned her financial savvy in the Air Force — enough so, that just three years in, she had saved enough to make the down payment on the York County house she bought last November.
“I credit my mentor,” she said, referring to her unit’s Master Sergeant, who has since been posted to Washington but who stays in regular touch.
Becoming a mentor is part of her plan, too, when she bucks for promotion to staff sergeant in a few weeks.
Robertson joined the Air Force right after graduating from Warwick High School and deciding not to take up scholarship offers from Hampton University and the University of North Carolina, her mother, Donna Robertson said.
“In the 11th grade Cheyenne downloaded the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) military testing app and played it like a game on her phone,” Donna Robertson said.
“So when time to test she nailed it.”
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