Slain Airman's life remembered, honored after hit-and-run
By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 15, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Buckley members honored the life and memory of deceased Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, in a ceremony April 14 at the base chapel.
"SrA Snyder epitomized the Airman spirit," said Lt. Col. Hew Wells, 460th SCS commander. "He eagerly attacked his duty responsibilities, sought out new and challenging opportunities, and confronted obstacles with enthusiasm and determination. His upbeat attitude and ever-present smile were infectious.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the Snyder family and to the men and women of the 460th SCS as we mourn the loss of a dedicated Airman," the commander added. "A tragic accident and senseless loss of life, we recognize SrA Snyder's honorable and faithful service to our country as a proud member of our United States Air Force."
Snyder, an El Paso, Ill. native, was 23 years old and had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9. A 460th SCS motorcycle safety representative, rider and enthusiast, Snyder was known to always wear the proper personal protective motorcycle gear and reflective items each time he took his bike out.
Despite all the precautions he took, Snyder's life was tragically taken from him. However, it is not only how he was lost that will be remembered, but more importantly, how he lived.
"Snyder was a great guy, a stellar Airman and a huge contributor to the shop; not just with his work ethic and technical abilities, but his easy going spirit brought a welcomed light-heartedness to the shop atmosphere," said Tech Sgt. Eugene Budnik, Snyder's previous noncommissioned officer in charge. "Thinking of his big smile and ears, goofy walk, and distinctive laugh, which I could always hear all the way in my office, makes me smile -- that's how I'll always remember him. He will be sorely missed."
With a great attitude and a sense of humor, Snyder raised the spirits of those in the office and took new Airmen under his wing as a mentor, explained Staff Sgt. Jenna Saenz, 460th SCS cyber transport supervisor who worked just a desk away from Snyder. He loved making others laugh and inviting people to the gym to work out with him, even if sometimes his co-workers might jokingly tease him about showing off "his guns" in a workout shirt.
While Snyder was making his work center better by improving morale, he was also demonstrating a desire to take on additional leadership opportunities.
"He would take on projects because he wanted to be seen as a leader," Saenz said. "He didn't shy away from the challenge and exceled at everything I gave him. He really set the example for others to follow and would go out of his way to help you if you needed it. He made me strive to be a better NCO. He is going to leave a void in this shop."
From an Airman who would joke about every day being his birthday to a wingman who constantly tried to improve the lives of those around him, Snyder certainly will leave a void in everyone he touched. But for the serviceman whose positive attitude defined who he was, it is the legacy he left that can never be forgotten.