Hometown Hero: John Kueper

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - John Kueper has been doing extra as a member of the Hunter Army Airfield Transportation Alert team for 12 years, estimating he has been there to unload planes several Christmases and every Thanksgiving since 2005.

But he finds it easy to justify the hard work

"We come here and we do it because we know the soldiers have been deployed and they want to get home to their families," said Kueper, who helps unload planes that are bringing soldiers back from overseas. "That's why we come in and work these flights."

Kueper is usually the first to volunteer for that work - whenever it might be - logging 228 hours of overtime last year.

"Ninety percent of the time, it is late night or it's holidays," said Jack Dibrell, chief of Hunter's Aviation Division. "It's other times that are not real convenient."

"My family, they're used to it and I'm used to it," added Kueper. "It's just a matter of getting a phone call and going."

And while Kueper's bosses at Hunter are also used to him being there, too, they do not take his efforts for granted.

Wednesday, he was presented with the Civilian Service Achievement Medal for exceptional service. And, yes, he went to Hunter to receive it.

"John's one of my best workers, probably the most competent and most motivated out here on the flight line," said Dibrell. "He's a can-do guy, he never complains."

"Everyone comes to work and they do their job," added Kueper. "They don't want to have any credit or accolades thrown their way but it's appreciated when somebody identifies that you've been doing a good job."

But even receiving two awards Wednesday won't change this WTOC Hometown Hero's favorite part of the job he does.

"It's the people, taking care of the soldiers," he said. "That's why we're here, we're in the customer service business and that's what we're here for."

And that's why Kueper is there as often as he is.

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