DoD and DAF honor Airmen and Guardians for their exceptional work with victim support and prevention

  • Published
  • By Rebecca Ward

Capt. Vikki Flores was on her way from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona to her new assignment in the National Capital Region when she learned she was to be honored as a 2022 Liz Blanc Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) of the Year Award recipient.

“It was a pretty pleasant surprise during my seven day trip across the county,” Flores said.

Flores credits her Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) team for her success as a SARC, a special duty assignment that lasted two years. During her time as a deputy SARC at Davis-Monthan AFB, Flores deployed for eight months to Al-Dhafra AFB in United Arab Emirates as the installation SARC.

“I was able to bring that experience back to Davis-Monthan (AFB) and continue to thrive there. I had the best team I could ask for at D-M, so that also helped provide opportunities to succeed,” Flores said.

Flores said her time as a SARC was especially rewarding as it gave her the opportunity to support at the individual level.

“It’s a privilege, an honor, when someone comes in, however long it took them to get to that realization or that ability to walk into the office and say ‘I really need support.’ It’s such a privilege, like I said, to be able to support them and then to be able to see individuals from that moment weeks, months, years later, thriving again.

Flores was one of 15 award winners from the Department of the Air Force who were honored by the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DoD SAPRO) at a ceremony on May 17.

DoD SAPRO honored a team of Volunteer Victim Advocates from Minot AFB for Promoting Excellence in Prevention - Capt. Jacob England, 1st Lt. Aimee Ford, 1st Lt. Sarah Johnson, 1st Lt. Kimberly Ratliff, Tech Sgt. Sarah Duckett, Tech Sgt. Matthew Brimmer, and Airman 1st Class Samantha Hughes.

England said his team works extremely hard in their voluntary position, and they’ve been innovative in their approach to sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention. During training, he added, the audience can answer questions from the slide presentation anonymously through their smart phones.

“I’ll give them a website and a four digit code. They don’t have to download anything. They just put the code in and it will bring them into my PowerPoint,” England said.

The app contains voting buttons that consolidate all the answers and show them on the screen.

England said, “Then, depending on what the crowd as a whole will say, we’ll be able to foster conversation directly toward the way they answered those questions.”

DoD SAPRO also named a team from Schriever Space Force Base with an award for Promoting Excellence in Prevention. Recipients Maj. Branden Crockett, Maj. Shelton Fraser, Capt. Adam Embry, Master Sgt Curtis Oliver, Tech. Sgt Walker Jean-Phillippe, Dr. Nicole Stoughton, and Mr. Nicholas Mowes were part of the Guardian Holistic Operational Support Team (GHOST) at Schriever.

Maj Fraser said GHOST is unique in that it brings together a psychologist, a social worker, a mental health tech, chaplain, a religious affairs Airman, physical therapist, and physician assistant to work as a team on violence prevention.

"We are the first imbedded multidisciplinary team in Space Force that is able to provide preventative holistic care. Our team is unique in that we can address all the resiliency pillars of mental, spiritual, physical, and social - all of which play into addressing sexual assault prevention and care for our Guardians,” Fraser said.

In addition to the DoD SAPRO awards, the DAF honors a number of other personnel who work or volunteer with their local SAPR office. Staff Sgt. Kylin D. Pepera, 43 AMOG, Pope AFB, was named the Exceptional Volunteer Victim Advocate of the Year.

The Exceptional SAPR Team of the Year is from the 87 ABW, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and includes Iraina Witherspoon, Jennifer West, Capt. Darby Germain, and Capt. Camden Scoggin.

The award for Exceptional Victim Advocate went to Teresa Perrin, 355 WG at Davis-Monthan AFB, who credited her leadership and SAPR team, including Flores, the DoD winner, for the recognition.

“We, both my immediate supervisor Mr. Starkey and the Wing leadership, they just give us the ability to think outside the box and execute new ideas,” Perrin said.

Perrin’s SAPR team recently hosted an open house for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month with games and activities, as well as tours through the SAPR office. More than 460 people came through that day helping the team further their goal of humanizing the office and putting faces to names in SAPR.

“We firmly believe people are more likely to come in and seek help if they already have a positive interaction with the SAPR staff,” Perrin said.

Creating a supportive and caring environment for survivors of sexual assault is the main focus for all SAPR and prevention personnel within the DAF. If an Airman or Guardian is in need assistance or would like to find out more information about resources available, they may visit the local SAPR office or find the nearest location of a SARC or VA at