By Senior Airman Chuck Broadway, 9th RW Public Affairs
/ Published January 21, 2011
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- "You can only do good if you set out to do good."
Those are the words spoken and lived by 1st Lt. Melissa Croy, 9th Reconnaissance Wing assistant director of staff. Every day she wakes up happy to be alive and enjoying the little things in life.
Whether it's having a hot shower every morning, food on her table or any other daily comforts she enjoys, Lieutenant Croy starts each morning fresh, and with a smile that, more than likely will never leave her face until she goes to bed that evening.
This "giddy" personality and lifestyle, coupled with a work ethic rivaled by the likes of a honey bee, is what she has become known for. It also helped her become the 2010 Company Grade Officer of the year for Air Combat Command for the Force Support Career Field.
Her achievements stem from a lifetime of abiding by the values of hard work and honesty, which she began living by at an early age.
Brought up in an Air Force family, Lieutenant Croy knew from the age of five that she wanted to be in the Air Force, and specifically an officer.
In search of a military career path, she found the best way for her was to become a member of the Texas A & M Corps of Cadets and commission upon completing their program.
When she received her commission, things were looking up. While awaiting her first assignment, she worked four jobs to stay busy. Then she got the call to come to Beale, and a new chapter of her life was opened.
Upon arriving at Beale in February 2008, she was greeted with pneumonia, strep throat and mononucleosis simultaneously and spent much of her first few active duty months on quarters.
Once healthy, she became the officer in charge of Contrails Inn Dining Facility at the 9th Force Support Squadron. With more than 40 personnel, military and contractors, working with her, she led the team through a complete interior renovation of the building and gained leadership and skills to continue her career.
Lieutenant Croy was then moved to work with the 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron as part of installation and personnel readiness, while still assigned to the 9th FSS. It was there where she learned about standing up for what's right to complete the mission, no matter who she faces off with.
"I really had to learn to stand up for myself," she said. "I had to grit my teeth and just tell colonels and lieutenant colonels 'no' you have to do this before you get into country or you won't be able to perform your mission."
Her performance was so great that she was called upon by Lt. Col. Vince Catich, 9th RW director of staff, to serve in her current position at the wing headquarters building and take on a completely different job than what she was used to.
As she was being transitioning through different jobs around base, she continued to pursue a dream of performing with Tops in Blue and travel around the world singing and dancing.
Following long shifts at work, she would immediately travel home to Sacramento and practice dance routines at a local studio where she became a member.
"I put everything I had for two years into making Tops in Blue," Lieutenant Croy said. "My philosophy was that if I get a little better every day, soon I'm going to be a lot better."
She would squeeze in every opportunity to practice her vocal skills, including singing on the one-hour drive to and from work each day.
Her hard work may have gone unnoticed for Tops in Blue, but she has been a part of two performances in Sacramento, including playing the lead role in "The Sound of Music."
"I was so appreciative to have gotten that chance," she said. "It was the most fun I've had in my entire life and if I get close to having that much fun again, I'll be blessed."
Lieutenant Croy said she is someone who can make her own fun. Her cheerfulness and ever-present smile, along with the positive attitude have helped her balance the fast paced lifestyle she has led while mixing all her work duties and outside interests.
"Lieutenant Croy is a dedicated and hard working officer who always hits the ground running, strives for perfection and goes out of her way to ensure a positive atmosphere in her workplace," Colonel Catich said. "She is always volunteering for all kinds of things both on base and in the local community."
Lieutenant Croy will depart Beale soon for an assignment at Hulbert Field, Fla. Colonel Catich, along with other coworkers, stated she will be truly missed and is a role model for everyone around her and a pleasure to work with. She definitely earned the award and it's well deserved.
"Everything has really worked out for me. I have a lot of people to thank for all the good things that have come my way and I try never to forget them and always let them know that I appreciate them," she said.
While referencing a message from one of those appreciated friends, Lieutenant Croy said, "You have to have a reason to get up really early and go to bed really late."
Waking up with this in mind, Lieutenant Croy is seemingly a human version of the "Energizer Bunny" as she loves to remain busy and have something to do at all times. She has spent time training her body and voice for show business, and brought her dance routines to Beale by instructing classes weekly. She was also one of the first instructors for the base's popular exercise class, Body Pump.
"I've had to find creative ways to make things work," she said. "The hardest thing has been to remain organized and keep track of everything."
Throughout all of her commitments, she's managed to stay positive through all the stress, long hours and little sleep.
"Everyone's going to have setbacks and challenges in their day," she said. "We live in America and we are blessed to be here."
Lieutenant Croy suggested instead of pointing fingers at each other about everything [that goes wrong] in this world, that's an opportunity for you to make it better.
"I like to be positive because there's no reason to be negative. If there's something to complain about and you have the power to change it, go out and do it," she said. "If you don't have the power to change it, find someone who does, or don't waste your energy on it. You're going to seep that negative energy out into others and it's going to become contagious and that's inefficient."
Looking back at all she's been involved with at Beale, Lieutenant Croy said she has no regrets and wouldn't change a thing. She feels she can continue to live "at the speed of life" as she knows it and is lucky to be able to do so much both at work and away from the office.
"Everything you have is meant to be given," she said. "Gifts aren't just financial or physical. Everyone has talents and you can either keep them to yourself and hide them, or give them profusely."