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Bautista named 2008 Air Diversity winner

May 3, 2009 -- Master Sgt. Ferdie Bautista, Information Manager for the 108th Maintenance Squadron, was the 2008 Individual Air Diversity Award Winner. This award is given to the Air National Guard member who best promoted diversity in his/her workplace and in the community while maintaining the core values of the Air National Guard. 
One of the main components of the Air Diversity Award is how the individual is able to best integrate the military with their community while promoting diversity and unity. Bautista is able to do this in a multitude of ways encompassing both his military and community background. One of the many ways that Bautista promotes diversity is his membership in the Asian Pacific Heritage Foundation. 
As chairman of the foundation, Bautista was able to fully integrate Guard and Reserve personnel into an organization that was previously run by active duty members only. He has been instrumental in bringing awareness to the group and getting the foundations message out to the public by coordinating a Luau for the base and community during Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage month. This consisted of volunteer musicians and dancers from Japan, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Philippines, and the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, Bautista volunteers for the annual Unity Day celebration that is held at Fort Dix where he hosts the Asian/Pacific Islander table complete with various cultural food samplings and displays. He has been a participant in this event for the past nine years. 
The Asian Pacific Heritage Foundation and the Unity Day event are only two of the ways that Bautista promotes diversity in the workplace; he also acts as his unit's Equal Opportunity counselor and Special Emphasis Program Manager. 
"I'm here to assist Airmen with any questions or issues that they might have regarding diversity and equal opportunity related issues," said Bautista. "I try to instill the principle that everyone has something positive to offer, and it doesn't matter what they look like or how different they appear." 
Although Bautista is very active in the military with diversity issues and assisting young Airmen, his service does not stop when he changes into civilian clothes. As a member of his local church, Bautista volunteers as a Sunday school teacher and also as an advisor to young men and women when it comes to questions about the military. "I try to instill in everyone the importance of excepting and learning about the differences in people," said Bautista. "Talents can be found in everyone, and our strength as a people comes from our differences as a whole."