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Air Force to lead National Image Conference

3/20/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The Department of Defense named the Air Force as the lead service for this year's National Image Conference to be held April 14 to 18 at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas.

The conference theme, "From Heritage to New Horizons," will provide guidance and leadership to take Hispanic youth and workforce members to new levels, academically and socially, and is an excellent opportunity for thousands of Hispanics to network.

The annual conference provides exhibit space for government agencies and private businesses to reach the community, a forum for speakers on topics of interest, and a job fair to inform the community about employment opportunities.

The DOD has partnered with National Image, Inc. over the last few years in this endeavor.

"The conference kicks off on April 16 and includes high quality workshops for military and civilian personnel," said James Carlock, the Air Force contact for the conference. "Workshops will be facilitated by trained professionals and include such topics as professional and personal development, leadership, diversity management, Hispanic employment initiatives and keys to personal growth."

Separate workshops and a youth luncheon will also be available for high school students in the Las Vegas area during each day of the conference, he said.

Representatives from the Air Force Academy, Air Force ROTC, Air Force Recruiting Service and Air Force Reserve Command will be available throughout the conference at exhibit booths to discuss available opportunities with their organizations.

One of the highlights of the conference will be the "Salute to Hispanics in the Military" Awards Banquet April 17. The banquet will recognize the accomplishments of uniformed members in all branches of the service.

The keynote speaker is Tech. Sgt. Israel Del Toro, Jr., a 759th Medical Support Squadron member at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Sergeant Del Toro deployed to Bosnia in March 2001 and to Operation Iraqi Freedom -- where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He also saw the battlefield as a tactical air control party operator when he deployed in September 2005 supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. While supporting the 2nd Battalion (Airborne) 503d Infantry, Combined Task Force-Bayonet in Afghanistan on Dec. 4, 2005, Sergeant Del Toro received wounds during combat action.

Banquet tickets are $80 and can be obtained by faxing a conference registration form with the notation, "Military Award Banquet Only." Special hotel room rates will be available for a limited time.

Air Force leaders are encouraging Air Force members and civilian employees to attend.

More information about the conference and registration forms may be found at http://www.nationalimageinc.org/, or by contacting James Carlock by e-mail at James.Carlock@pentagon.af.mil.



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