By Christy Millweard
CHAFFEE, Mo. (KFVS/CNN) - It's an award more than 20,000 airmen hoped to receive, but it was a southeast Missouri woman, Lauren Everett, who took home the title Airman of the Year.
Everett is based in the United Kingdom, and on special assignment, but her family was happy to share their excitement.
Becky Smith-Everett and Randy Everett are beyond proud of their little girl.
"It's an honor that we never dreamed, we knew that she was an over achiever, but as far as this, it just means so much to us," said Becky.
"She's done a lot of neat things while she's been in the military, but it's really cool to win something like Airman of the Year for Europe and Africa," said Randy.
Everett's sister Lindsey Everett is just a few months younger, and while growing up they had their fair share of competition, now she can't be more supportive of her sister.
"It's a big honor for us too, we're a little bias, we've always been very proud of her, and she's always excelled at everything she's done, but seeing that recognized from an outside perspective and one as influential as the Air Force, meant a lot," said Lindsey.
Even though she's a winner, the family says Everett is quite humble.
"Each level that she passed she would say, 'Mom don't get your hopes up, there's a lot of people that do a lot of great things in the Air Force,'" said Becky.
"She's very modest and very humble, so I think she's getting a little embarrassed with everybody asking," said Lindsey.
Parents and sister say they rarely get to see Everett, and usually can only talk to her via email.
So while some would say this award helps make up for the distance, but in typical loving dad form, he says he's rather have her here.
Even though they would love to have their sister and daughter home, the Everetts are proud to call her Airman of the Year.
"I think she represents the heartland as well and I think everybody takes pride in that," said Becky.
"We're very proud of her, we love her and we miss her and congratulations," said Lindsey.