Nominations for 2019 Sheep Dog of the Year awards are no longer being accepted.

Sheep Dog of the Year Awards

It is that time again – time to ask for nominations for our Sheep Dog of the Year awards!

This award is an important way to recognize those among us who have gone above and beyond their call of duty in their military or first responder professions (law enforcement, fire & rescue, and EMS/paramedic). These awards are presented to Sheep Dogs who have modeled exemplary and/or heroic service during 2019. Although a single heroic incident may be worthy of consideration, special consideration is given to those nominees who have distinguished themselves and their profession throughout their careers.

If you know of someone whom you would like to nominate, please submit a preliminary nomination as instructed below.



Sheep Dog of the Year

Preliminary Nomination Form

SDIA Vice President Kacey Wiltz with 2017 Military Sheep Dog of the Year, Gunner Kelley with his wife, Kelly, and SDIA Founder & President SgtMaj Lance Nutt, USMC (Ret.)

Sheep Dog Nomination Requirements

Nomination and Approval Process

Nomination Criteria

For the purpose of this award, “Sheep Dog” means a living individual currently serving in the military, law enforcement, fire and rescue, or emergency medical services (EMS)/paramedic profession, and who is directly employed on a full-time, active, reserve or national guard basis by a local, country, state, federal government and/or agency, with or without compensation, who is duly sworn and has current job requirements, or completed their obligated service in the year they are nominated.

  • In addition, ALL ranks will be considered, but only if their job responsibilities require them to experience similar hazards and perform similar duties as those normally experienced and performed by peers.
  • “Support Personnel” employees shall be considered if they are recognized as having served in a capacity that directly supports the efforts of military or first responder personnel. For example, but not limited to, correctional officers, jailers, probation officers, 911 Call Center agents, etc. Make the case for your nominee and they will have their nomination package reviewed for consideration. Make a strong case for all nominees.
  • Less than full-time military and first responders (i.e., reserve, guard, volunteer, etc.) will also be considered. In such cases, eligibility will be determined after a review of several issues, including, but not limited to, job description and training.

Nominees may include individuals, or two or more nominees, provided that the persons being nominated worked in partnership or as a team.

How Do I Nominate a Sheep Dog? 

1. Please submit a PRELIMINARY NOMINATION by January 17, 2020, by completing the Preliminary Nomination form with the following information: Name; Rank; Branch/Department of Service; Photo; and a brief summary of the distinguished service for which the nominee should be recognized (including, but not limited to their Military, law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMS service; Community service; Extreme actions of valor; and Commendations and other awards received).

2. If your nominee is selected by the SDIA Sheep Dog of the Year committee, you will be notified by January 22 and asked to complete and submit the full Sheep Dog of the Year nomination form by January 31, 2020. Please be sure all information is filled out and accurate on this form, including the following.

  • Submit a photo of the nominee, preferably in uniform, with the nomination form below. If submitting via mail, submit photo(s) on a CD/DVD/thumb drive. Should the nominee be selected, the submitted photo may be used in all print collateral, including, but not limited to, Sheep Dog Impact Assistance print materials, social media, event programs and on the SDIA website,
  • Other items that we suggest, but are not necessary, for inclusion with your nomination form are articles featuring the nominee or their work (limited to 4) and letters of support from the community and/or coworkers.
  • Requested nomination forms must be submitted no later than January 31, 2020.

Review and Selection Process

All nominations are reviewed by SDIA Sheep Dog of the Year committee members that ultimately pick the awardee. The review process may include discussion with the nominee, as well as the nominee’s unit, department or agency, including, but not limited to, the nominee’s commanding officer, top administrative officer, senior supervisor, co-workers, union or association, as well as private citizens served by the nominee. Prior to any decision becoming final or publicly announced, the selected recipient must provide written authorization for the award to be given and the notification process to proceed.

Once approved, a letter announcing the decision will be sent to the nominee, to the person who submitted the nomination, and to the top administrative officer or supervisor of the unit, department or agency involved.

Each Sheep Dog of the Year award winner is featured on, annual newsletters, and on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

Award Presentation

The Sheep Dog of the Year award presentation takes place each year at SDIA’s annual Heroes Gala in Rogers, AR; 2019 awards will be presented by SDIA’s founder, SgtMaj Lance Nutt, USMC (Ret.), on Saturday, April 18, 2020.

Sheep Dog of the Year

Preliminary Nomination Form

This online preliminary nomination form must be completed in its entirety and submitted by the January 17, 2020, deadline to be considered for the next level of nominations.

Questions? Email