Airman shines in occupational health

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Robert Hanet
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Is your drinking water safe? Who tests it to ensure there are no contaminants? If you are unsure about the answers to these questions, you are not alone. When it comes to the occupational health of the men and women at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan, the 127th Medical Group's Bioenvironmental section has it under control.

Major Mark Rausch is the Officer in Charge of the bioenvironmental section and likens his section to an iceberg.

"Only a small portion (of the work) is seen while an incredible amount lies beneath the surface," He said, "There is an enormous responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the people on Selfridge."

One Airman who bears the brunt of this responsibility is Senior Airman Brandon Reif. As a full time employee of the 127th Medical Group and full time student at Oakland University majoring in health sciences, Senior Airman Reif relishes in the burden of keeping people safe.

"I enjoy performing site visits to various shops to examine the chemicals they have on site," Reif said, adding, "I like cataloging the chemicals in a (unified) database and making recommendations on proper handling and storage."

It only takes a few moments of sitting down with Reif before getting the sensation that he truly enjoys his work and cares about what he does. Section supervisor Technical Sgt. Dean Klovski echoes this sentiment.

"(SrA Reif) is a tremendous asset to the Medical Group," Klovski said. "It is rare to have someone with the knowledge, maturity level, and understanding of the career field at such a young age as Reif."

Reif's knowledge was put to the test recently when asked technical questions related to his career field by visiting inspectors. "Each question Reif answered, the inspector went one layer deeper and each time Reif knew the answers," Rausch said.

The knowledge and passion for the career field was on full display as Reif demonstrated a water sampling test. Reif explained that the tests measure the drinking water on Selfridge at six key locations for, among other things, chlorine and bacteria. The tests are conducted monthly and ensure quality drinking water for the entire base. Even more impressive is that Reif had only graduated technical training in 2011 and has been a full time employee only since 2013.

Reif's accomplishments on the job already create a storied resume, so it's not surprising to hear he is also an accomplished organist for the church choir and has been playing piano since the age of six. Traveling around the country, 32 states and counting, and reading a varied genre of books round out a few of Reif's other hobbies. However, as Reif puts it, "(Having a) knowledge of chemistry through education and applying it to the job to ensure safe and healthy work environments" really makes him happy.

So take comfort the next time you make a pot of coffee from the sink or take a drink from the fountain, because SrA Brandon Reif and the team from 127th Bioenvironmental are working hard to ensure you live a long and healthy life.