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9th AF Airman receives purple heart for actions in Afghanistan

Col. Jose Rivera, 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, left, pins a Purple Heart medal on Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison, 819th RHS heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, during a ceremony at the Air Fields hangar Dec. 9, 2016, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds received in Afghanistan in July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

U.S. Air Force Col. Jose Rivera (left), 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, pins a Purple Heart medal on Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison (right), 819th RHS heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, during a ceremony, Dec. 9, 2016, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds received in Afghanistan in July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison, 819th RED HORSE Squadron heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, right, is awarded a Purple Heart medal during a ceremony at the Air Fields Hangar Dec. 9, 2016, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds received in Afghanistan in July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

U.S. Air Force Col. Jose Rivera (left), 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison (right), 819th RHS heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, stand at attention as Dickison's Purple Heart citation is read during a ceremony, Dec. 9, 2016, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds received in Afghanistan in July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Col. Jose Rivera, 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, left, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison, 819th RHS heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, pose for a photo at a Purple Heart medal ceremony Dec. 9, 2016, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds received in Afghanistan in July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

U.S. Air Force Col. Jose Rivera (left), 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, pins a Purple Heart medal on Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison (right), 819th RHS heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, during a ceremony, Dec. 9, 2016, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds received in Afghanistan in July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison, 819th RED HORSE Squadron heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, center, poses with his family and Col. Jose Rivera, 819th RHS commander, after a Purple Heart medal ceremony Dec. 9, 2016, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison wants to use this opportunity to spread awareness about the relation between post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury and help other people through hard situations where sometimes they may feel they are alone. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison (center), 819th RED HORSE Squadron heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, center, poses with his family and Col. Jose Rivera, 819th RHS commander, after a Purple Heart medal ceremony, Dec. 9, 2016, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Dickison said he wants to use this opportunity to spread awareness about the relation between post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury and help other people through hard situations where sometimes they may feel they are alone. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --

Col. Jose Rivera, 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, presented a Purple Heart medal to a fellow RED HORSE Airman during a ceremony here Dec. 9.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Dickison, 819th RHS heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, was awarded the Purple Heart medal for combat wounds received in Afghanistan in July 2009.

“That day in July 2009, [Dickison] and his teammates answered their nation’s call while serving their country,” Rivera said. “There was a mission to be done. They didn’t think about it, and they went out. That is why we are here to honor him today and present this medal.”

Dickison had only a few words to say upon receiving his decoration, giving thanks for everyone’s support and shedding light on the many troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve their country.

“There are so many deserving military members out there [who] have sacrificed more than me,” Dickison said. “I am blessed and honored to even be considered in the same category, and this medal is a tribute to all of my brothers out there. It’s such a humbling experience.”

Dickison said he wanted to use this opportunity to spread awareness about the relation between post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury and help other people through hard situations where sometimes they may feel they are alone.

“It’s a simple thing that a lot of people I know are in dark places,” Dickison said. “Sometimes, it takes somebody to jump in the trench with them rather than coming from someone from the outside. I hope to be behind the curtain and doing what I can to help people better understand things.”

Dickison was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife Valarie and their three children. He joined the Air Force in 2002 and said he joined the military, because he felt like it was the right thing to do.

His hobbies include hunting, fishing and hiking. He currently has his Air Force Associates of Applied Science degree in mechanical and electrical engineering, and his goal is to obtain his civil engineering degree.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded in combat and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or who later succumb to their wounds received in action.