SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — An Airman in the Illinois Air National Guard was recently honored with a prestigious award for his service and recruitment efforts in the state.

Master Sergeant Jason Arndt of New Berlin was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, which is given to U.S. Armed Forces members who have showcased exceptional efforts. Air National Guard officials said Arndt received the award for his “outstanding achievement” while assigned as the Illinois Air National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Senior Enlisted Leader.

Throughout his tenure from Sept. 2019 to Sept. 2022, Arndt enlisted more than 750 new Airmen into the Illinois Air National Guard. 300 of those Airmen filled critical needs within the Air Force.

Officials added that Arndt helped boost the Illinois Air National Guard’s recruitment efforts in Chicagoland by pioneering a first-of-its-kind recruiting storefront in Waukegan. He also reimagined the recruiter hiring process, ensuring that Illinois Air National Guard recruiters were Joint Qualification Certified within six months, and bringing in six new recruiters. This resulted in a 13% increase in accessions.

The award ceremony was held on Oct. 14 at the Illinois National Guard headquarters on Camp Lincoln in Springfield. Brigadier General Dan McDonough, Assistant Adjutant General for Air of the Illinois National Guard and Commander of the Illinois Air National Guard, presented the medal to Arndt.