Senior Airman Keshia Shutts, the daughter of Julie Gottwald of Bettendorf, received a Christmas Day phone call she’ll never forget: It was President Barack Obama on the other end of the line.
“It was awesome,” she said. “Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Shutts, who is nearing the end of a six-month deployment in Kandahar, Afghanistan, with the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, was thanked for her service by Obama.
The president asked if Shutts had been able to talk to her daughter, Sienna, 3, at home in Angola, Ind. He also asked when Shutts, who is engaged, would be married. She told him she had set a date for Sept. 1, 2013, and said, “You’re more than welcome to attend our wedding.”
Shutts is deployed from the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron of the 121st Air Refueling Wing in the Ohio Air National Guard at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.
She has been working as an administrative assistant for the last five months in the squadron’s command section. Wing leadership nominated her to receive the call from the president in recognition of her outstanding performance.
“For me, nominating her was a no-brainer,” said Lt. Col. Manuel Perez, the 451st squadron commander. “If I had to pick my No. 1 airman in the squadron, it would be her.”
“Airman Shutts conducts herself as a true quality airman,” Perez said. “She demands perfection and professionalism, and she really sets the example.”
Shutts has volunteered at the USO, at the Role 3 hospital, and also has served as a victim advocate in the wing’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program. Additionally, she volunteered 12 hours as a mentor to 30 Afghan children at the local Kandahar Bazaar school.
She completed Airman Leadership School and is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in nursing.