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The man behind the money

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The echoes of a dribbling basketball bounce around the walls of the gym, then stop. He puts up the shot and cashes in the three.

Basketball is one of the many activities that Airman 1st Class Matt Hinson, 28th Comptroller Squadron financial customer service technician, participates in as a way to relax after work.

"My job consists of a range of tasks, from helping someone fix issues with their paycheck and answering questions about their leave and earnings statement, to assisting with travel questions and everything in between," Hinson said.

Occasionally, everything in between involves staying late after work to complete various tasks.

"We deal with a lot of different things," said Airman 1st Class Fabian Miranda-Corpuz, 28th CPTS budget analyst. "But our work load increases during 'Closeout', which is the closing of the fiscal year."

Closeout season is the end of the fiscal year when all the money from the annual budget needs to be spent before it is no longer available.

During the beginning of September, all funds must be approved by the base commander. It takes quick communication and extra man hours to ensure all funds are used before the end of the fiscal year without overspending.

"Sometimes we leave work on time and sometimes we stay two or three hours after closing," Miranda-Corpuz said. "We work until the job gets done."

Whether Hinson is helping customers while on cashier duty, assisting with in-processing new Airmen to the base, explaining bonuses or staying late to complete a task, he isn't satisfied unless the customer leaves happy.

"I'm part of a chain, where if I don't do my job right, it affects multiple people down the line, including the customer, and that is more trouble and work for everyone," Hinson said. "The best part of my job is the feeling I get knowing I helped someone out and seeing how appreciative they are when they leave."

When he is not behind the counter helping out customers, he is out either playing sports like basketball or football, or exploring the Black Hills area.

"Basketball is my favorite sport," Hinson said. "But I'll play anything and everything if it means getting out and having fun."

Sports have always been a way for Airmen to forget about work and relieve their stress by being physically active.

"At times my job can be mentally exhausting," Hinson said. "So being able to be physically active and release that stress really helps to clear my mind and regroup for the next day."

Hinson added that being stationed here at Ellsworth has given him opportunities to explore a region he wouldn't have explored otherwise.

"There are so many outdoor activities to do here," Hinson said. "I especially like hiking - not only is it a great way to see all the beauty that South Dakota has to offer, but its free, making it a great way to spend time with friends."

Overall, Hinson explained that he enjoys his job and is thankful that even though sometimes it can be stressful, he is able to unwind and regroup with sports, outdoor activities and friends.

"I'm glad the Air Force has given me so many opportunities," Hinson said. "I do my job well and they take care of me-- It is like being on a team; you take care of one other."