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Active Military, Veteran of the Year honored

Zack Westerfield was honored as Pike County Middle School’s Military Member of the Year for his service as a Captain at Warner Robins Air Force Base and Ben Maxedon was honored as the school’s Veteran of the Year for his volunteer work and philanthropy in the community. Zach Westerfield is a 2009 graduate of Pike County High School. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2013 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force. In 2015 he received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and began working as a developmental engineer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Capt. Westerfield served in different assignments supporting Special Operations Forces including deploying to Afghanistan for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. In 2016 Capt. Westerfield deployed to eastern Afghanistan and while there, he led a detachment of over 20 personnel conducting direct support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for Special Operations Forces. He oversaw more than 125 sorties covering more than 90 coalition missions. He is stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia where he serves as a Structural Engineer in the Special Operations Forces Program Office, Fixed Wing branch. He is certified as an Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Engineer responsible for repairing downed aircraft in combat zones. His major decorations include the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, AF Organizational Excellence Award, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one device and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Westerfield is married to Grace, his wife of five years, and they have two sons, Mason and Jackson and are expecting a daughter next May. He is the son of Carmen and Bob Westerfield of Pike. Ben Maxedon enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on June 10, 1966 in Cincinnati, Ohio and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Antonio, Texas. His first overseas assignment was in France to close out a U.S. Air Base. He then served at Moron Air Base in Spain with the U.S. Air Forces Europe. During his tour in Spain, he was a member of an Explosive Ordnance Demolition Team that traveled to various countries and supported missions throughout Europe and Africa. He was honorably discharged from the U.S Air Force in April, 1970, having earned the National Defense Medal, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon. ’Not only is Ben Maxedon a veteran, he is a highly active veteran, proud Pike County citizen and volunteer in numerous civic and non-profit organizations and activities which benefit our county and community,’ said American Legion Post 197 commander Bryan Richardson. ‘There are not too many citizens who do what Ben does for Pike County.’ Maxedon has been a Pike County resident since May 1990. He founded Prayer Power of Georgia in 2006 and has served as its CEO and Chaplain since then. He provides twice a day devotionals on The Rock 88.9 FM radio station as well as daily email devotions to subscribers. He helped form the county’s Invocation Policy at meeting and often starts off local commission and school board meetings with prayer. He has hosted the annual Pike County Schools Prayer Walk since 2010. In 2013, he organized the first Pike County Baccalaureate Service and has kept it going every year since, often with hundreds of seniors taking part. He hosts annual ‘˜Son Rise’ services on Easter morning since 2016 and through the Prayer Guardian Ministry, sends out monthly postcards to local, state and national leaders letting them know that prayers are given for them and offering words of encouragement. He accepts nominations and honors a local senior every year with the Prayer Power Faith Award and a community citizen with the Saints in Light award. He has been a member of Post 197 since 2008 and served as chaplain for five years. He was a 2017 charter member and treasurer of the Pike County Christian Ministerial Association. He is a member of the Pike County Firefighters Museum as chaplain and is on the board of directors. He has also been the county coordinator for the National Day of Prayer Task Force for the past 20 years. He is married to Patti Maxedon and they have six adult children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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