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Livin’ My Best Life

U.S. Air Force Col. Bryony A. Terrell, 145th Airlift Wing commander (left), Lt. Col. Lisa Kirk, 145th Mission Support Group commander (center), and Lt. Col. Karen Shook, 145th Maintenance Group commander (right), pose together after being pied in the face for a fundraising event following a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

U.S. Air Force Col. Bryony A. Terrell, 145th Airlift Wing commander (left), Lt. Col. Lisa Kirk, 145th Mission Support Group commander (center), and Lt. Col. Karen Shook, 145th Maintenance Group commander (right), pose together after being pied in the face for a fundraising event following a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

U.S. Air Force Col. Bryony A. Terrell (left), 145th Airlift Wing commander, pies Lt. Col. Lisa Kirk, 145th Mission Support Group commander, in the face for a fundraising event following a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

U.S. Air Force Col. Bryony A. Terrell (left), 145th Airlift Wing commander, pies Lt. Col. Lisa Kirk, 145th Mission Support Group commander, in the face for a fundraising event following a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

Members of the 145th Airlift Wing, sprint towards the finish line during a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

Members of the 145th Airlift Wing, sprint towards the finish line during a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard come together during a 1-mile walk/run to support family and friends of recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis. Master Sgt. Pettis’ battle with cancer came to an end this Fall and to honor her memory, the NCANG Recruiting office hosted the Color Run, which involves a 1-mile walk/run with colorful chalk thrown in the air and on participants, to inspire cheer in those she left behind. The theme of the race, “Livin’ my best life,” is a phrase Pettis was often heard singing or using around her loved ones to instill faith, joy, and love.

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard come together during a 1-mile walk/run to support family and friends of recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis. Master Sgt. Pettis’ battle with cancer came to an end this Fall and to honor her memory, the NCANG Recruiting office hosted the Color Run, which involves a 1-mile walk/run with colorful chalk thrown in the air and on participants, to inspire cheer in those she left behind. The theme of the race, “Livin’ my best life,” is a phrase Pettis was often heard singing or using around her loved ones to instill faith, joy, and love.

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard come together during a 1-mile walk/run to support family and friends of recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis. Master Sgt. Pettis’ battle with cancer came to an end this Fall and to honor her memory, the NCANG Recruiting office hosted the Color Run, which involves a 1-mile walk/run with colorful chalk thrown in the air and on participants, to inspire cheer in those she left behind. The theme of the race, “Livin’ my best life,” is a phrase Pettis was often heard singing or using around her loved ones to instill faith, joy, and love.

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard come together during a 1-mile walk/run to support family and friends of recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis. Master Sgt. Pettis’ battle with cancer came to an end this Fall and to honor her memory, the NCANG Recruiting office hosted the Color Run, which involves a 1-mile walk/run with colorful chalk thrown in the air and on participants, to inspire cheer in those she left behind. The theme of the race, “Livin’ my best life,” is a phrase Pettis was often heard singing or using around her loved ones to instill faith, joy, and love.

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard come together during a 1-mile walk/run to support family and friends of recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis. Master Sgt. Pettis’ battle with cancer came to an end this Fall and to honor her memory, the NCANG Recruiting office hosted the Color Run, which involves a 1-mile walk/run with colorful chalk thrown in the air and on participants, to inspire cheer in those she left behind. The theme of the race, “Livin’ my best life,” is a phrase Pettis was often heard singing or using around her loved ones to instill faith, joy, and love.

Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard come together during a 1-mile walk/run to support family and friends of recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis. Master Sgt. Pettis’ battle with cancer came to an end this Fall and to honor her memory, the NCANG Recruiting office hosted the Color Run, which involves a 1-mile walk/run with colorful chalk thrown in the air and on participants, to inspire cheer in those she left behind. The theme of the race, “Livin’ my best life,” is a phrase Pettis was often heard singing or using around her loved ones to instill faith, joy, and love.

Members of the 145th Airlift Wing, family, and friends take off in a sprint during a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

Members of the 145th Airlift Wing, family, and friends take off in a sprint during a ‘Living’ My Best Life’ Color Race, held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018. The Color Run, put together by the NCANG Recruiting Office, honors recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, following her battle with cancer. Master Sgt. Pettis was believed by many to have a colorful personality and would often be heard singing, ‘Livin’ My Best Life,’ during the good and bad days; a true testament to her strength.

11/08/2018 – CHARLOTTE, N.C. – -- For a brief moment, colored chalk painted the sky; overshadowing recent loss and filling the air with love. Family and friends of the North Carolina Air National Guard joined together Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 for a one-mile fun run/walk in honor of recently deceased U.S. Air Force Recruiter, Master Sgt. Valanda Pettis, at the fitness track located on base at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The one-mile race, orchestrated by the North Carolina Air National Guard recruiting office, brought together more than 100 participants and chalk-tossing spectators in support of MSgt Pettis and her family.

“We just really wanted to remember her in a really positive way. This is the way she deserved,” said Tech. Sgt. Nikki Morgan, production recruiter for the 145th Airlift Wing.

Tech. Sgt. Morgan met Master Sgt. Pettis nine months ago in recruiting school and within six weeks they bonded as sisters in uniform. Master Sgt. Pettis was known for her colorful and positive personality, even in the face of adversity.

“All the color, she was always smiling, always colorful, always bright, always cheery; so if fit her to be recognized in a colorful way,” said Tech. Sgt. Morgan. “So Valanda would always go around just saying ‘I’m living my best life’ and it’s actually a song; she would actually go around singing it no matter what day it was or what mood she was in, she would always be singing ‘I’m living my best life.’”

Following the race, members were invited to participate in a fundraiser for the Cancer Wing at Novant Health Presbyterian where Master Sgt. Pettis was treated. Votes were cast to pie a commander in the face and one of the winners, 145th Mission Support Group Commander, Lt. Col. Lisa Kirk, used to supervise Master Sgt. Pettis.

“Valanda was a colorful character, I’ve always said she was the fiercest female I have ever known when she worked for me,” said Lt. Col. Kirk. “She truly was the fiercest female I have ever known. So what better way, more colorful way, to represent her.”

This is the North Carolina Air National Guard’s first color run event honoring a fallen service member.

“I hope we see more of this, I hope we see more of this family-type event and honoring our own, especially those that have fallen while still in uniform, and I just say thank you to everyone who was involved in this event,” said Lt. Col. Kirk. “It’s fantastic and I think this did a lot for morale this afternoon.”

“I think Valanda is up there smiling down on us right now and throwing chalk from heaven,” said Lt. Col. Kirk. “Thats what I think, she is just loving every minute of it.”