Albert Einstein said setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.

This can be said of Sgt. Irene Lopez, from G-1 (Personnel Management), U.S. Army Africa, who was recently named the U.S. Army Africa Headquarters, Headquarters Battalion (HHB) Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

Lopez said being named USARAF's HHB NCO of the Year is a huge responsibility and challenge.

"I believe this experience will assist me in becoming a better leader because the most important thing this award has given me is awareness," Lopez said. "My aim is to be deserving of the award in front of others and most importantly when no one else is watching."
William Persinger, chief of strength management, USARAF G-1, said Lopez stands-out among her peers.

"She provides human resource and administrative support others struggle with, even some who are senior to her," Persinger said. "No task or mission is too hard and she simply outshines all peers with her quality of work."

G-1 is a data-driven directorate and Lopez consistently provides timely and accurate reports to allow others to accomplish their missions.

"For the past three months, she has been the sole player for any and all awards coming from Combined Joint Task Force -- Horn of Africa and those connected to civilian personnel. Very few young E-5s have their work go directly to a two-star commander for signature -- after a quick check by her chain of command, of course," Persinger said.

Col. Sara Simmons, chief, G-1, said Lopez stands-out among her peers and goes above and beyond her assigned duties and tasks always exceeding expectations.

"Recently, I asked her to run a query for all evaluation reports for NCOs and officers and not only did she run the query, she also highlighted late reports and reports due in 30 days," Simmons said. "As the command's awards clerk, she consistently processes numerous permanent change of station and achievement awards with accuracy and timeliness.

Lopez was nominated because of her demonstrated performance and potential, and she was selected because of her achievements and professionalism, the G1 chief said.

"She was selected as the USARAF HHB NCO of the Year because she encompasses the three attributes of an NCO -- 'Be, Know, Do,'" Persinger said. "She is technically and tactically proficient; she knows herself, her Soldiers, and her job; and she does the right thing -- simply put, she is the poster child for these attributes."