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UNSUNG HEROES: Familiar face at Tinker leaves gate

Rick Tripp talks tools with co-worker Senior Airman Christopher Edwards in the Bldg. 3001 main tool crib recently. Mr. Tripp can’t walk down the aisle from his new job with 76th Maintenance Support Group without people doing a double take or stopping to greet him. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

Rick Tripp talks tools with co-worker Senior Airman Christopher Edwards in the Bldg. 3001 main tool crib recently. Mr. Tripp can’t walk down the aisle from his new job with 76th Maintenance Support Group without people doing a double take or stopping to greet him. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Rick Tripp talks tools with co-worker Senior Airman Christopher Edwards in the Bldg. 3001 main tool crib recently. Mr. Tripp can't walk down the aisle from his new job with 76th Maintenance Support Group without people doing a double take or stopping to greet him. 

The familiar face used to check badges and greet workers as a gate guard until accepting his new position. Regardless of the weather, Mr. Tripp was noted for a friendly greeting and smile at the gate. "I tried to treat people like I'd want to be treated," he said. 

"I enjoyed my job because of the people. They made it easy. And if I could make one person smile that day, I had accomplished something. " Knowing the gate guard jobs were changing, he began looking for a civilian position and was "tickled to death" when his soon-to-be new supervisor rolled up to the gate and said he'd just hired him. 

As drivers learned of the changing of the guards' positions, the "thank yous" began to pile up for Mr. Tripp. Appreciative of his daily friendliness, they brought cards, goodies and balloons to him at the gate. Mr. Tripp is grateful to his new supervisors for the job and looks forward to a holiday at home this year. 

"Life is good," he said with a smile.