Metropolitan State student named USO National Guardsman of the Year

(Photo, above: National Guard Sgt. Aaron Burdash, center, is pictured with Gen. Frank J. Grass, second from left, Metropolitan State class of 1985 and 2013 Alumnus of the Year, and head of the National Guard and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

Metropolitan State student and National Guard Sgt. Aaron Burdash is recipient of the United Service Organizations (USO) National Guardsman of the Year award, presented recently at the 2015 USO Gala in Washington, D.C. The annual event honors one service member from each branch of service who has taken quick action to save the lives of others, whether on the battlefield or in a civilian neighborhood.

Burdash, a medic, serves with the 204th Area Support Medical Company, 347th Regional Support Group, with the Minnesota National Guard. On May 24, while deployed in Sinai, Egypt, he provided critical care to a host-nation soldier who suffered a gunshot wound to his chest. A few weeks later, he again delivered lifesaving medical care to a host-nation soldier, providing immediate care after the soldier suffered a gunshot wound to the face. Burdash stayed by the soldier’s side until he was stable enough to be transported.

Burdash with his family at the USO Gala, Washington, D.C.
Sgt. Aaron Burdash, 2015 National Guardsman of the Year,  with his family at the USO Gala.

Burdash said he was surprised when his leaders told him they were submitting his name for the award, “They put me in for this award for something that was just a part of my job and the reason I joined the military—to help people. I just felt like I was doing what I had been trained to do and nothing that deserved recognition.”

“It meant a lot to me that they felt like I deserved recognition for that event,” he added. “It’s nice to know that your leadership and the people that you respect think you deserve something like this.”

Burdash is pursuing a bachelor’s in human resources management from the College of Management.