Walker receives inaugural West Virginia Trailblazer Award
By Edwin Wriston, West Viriginia National Guard Public Affairs
/ Published February 27, 2019
CHARLESTON, W.Va. --
Brig. Gen. Christopher “Mookie” Walker was the recipient of the inaugural West Virginia Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) Trailblazer Award, presented during a ceremony held at the West Virginia Division of Arts, Culture, and History Cultural Center in Charleston, Feb. 23, 2019.
The Trailblazer Award is a new honor established in 2019 by Jill Upson, Executive Director of HHOMA. It is meant to honor those West Virginians within minority communities that exhibit a life of excellence. Each year, the HHOMA Advisory Board will select a recipient to receive the award during a ceremonial event held at the end of Black History Month.
“I believe that it is highly beneficial to all citizens of our state to elevate and celebrate those who epitomize the greatness of West Virginia,” stated Upson. “When I heard about the numerous accomplishments, including all of the ‘firsts’ that General Walker has achieved, I was immediately inspired and knew I wanted him to be the very first recipient of this prestigious award.”
“I am incredibly honored to receive this inaugural award,” stated Walker. “Being named a trailblazer is humbling, and I am deeply grateful for this recognition. I need the assistance of everyone in this room and throughout West Virginia to help me fill the ranks of the West Virginia Air National Guard with intrepid, smart, and brave young men and women who will serve. I promise that we will take good care of them, teach them to lead, and help them become the trailblazers of tomorrow.”
Walker currently serves as the Commander for the West Virginia Air National Guard where he leads more than 2,150 Airmen in direct support of National Defense and Homeland Security missions at home and abroad. He also serves as the Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He was the first African American in West Virginia history to be promoted to the rank of general officer.
Walker is a Master Navigator with more than 5,200 hours in WC-130 and C-130E/H/H3 aircraft, including over 400 combat and combat support hours.
“Since becoming Executive Director of the HHOMA, I have worked diligently to expand the impact of the agency in the communities that we seek to serve,” stated Upson. “This Trailblazer Award will come to exemplify and honor the very best West Virginians within the minority communities whose achievements and dedication to excellence inspire all of us.”
The HHOMA was founded in 2012 and strives to provide a forum for discussion of minority issues and assist with the efforts to develop strategies to improve the delivery of programs and services to minorities.