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Prep School honors class exemplar

Staff Sgt. Charles Rivezzo, Jan. 29, 2018
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force Academy’s Preparatory School held its annual Exemplar Dinner Jan. 26 to honor Lt. Col. Ida Widmann as the Prep School’s 2018 Class Exemplar.

For nearly two decades, each class at the Prep School has chosen an individual who “exemplifies” the type of person the class wishes to emulate.

Ida attended the Prep School as a cadet candidate in 1987 before earning her appointment to the Academy and graduating in 1991. Ida excelled both academically and as a leader, serving in various leadership positions during her time at the Academy and graduating as one of the top 10 cadets in her class.

Ida served as a civil engineer officer during a 20 year active-duty career. She found her “dream job” when the Air Force stationed her back the Preparatory School as commander of the 1st Preparatory Group, where she motivated and inspired cadet candidates.

Even in retirement, her love for the Academy, the cadet candidates and cadets propelled her to continue serving until her passing. On Aug. 20, 2017, after a hard fought battle with cancer, Ida passed away.

The guest speaker for the Exemplar Dinner was her husband, Col. Robert Widmann, who serves as the director of contracting for the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency at Peterson Air Force Base.

In his speech, Widmann talked about his wife’s legacy.

“Ida would be thrilled [to be honored as the class exemplar],” he said in his opening remarks. “She always had a special place in her heart for the Preparatory School. The Academy and the Air Force honed her leadership capabilities to a fine edge. It took a very good person and made her great.

“I look back on what she accomplished during her career and it’s amazing to see how many people she influenced; preppies, cadets, enlisted, officers and civilians. Ida blazed her own trail and made the most of her opportunities and the Air Force respected and fostered her potential to lead.”

Cadet candidates presented Widmann with the Exemplar Plaque for Ida, which will be hung on the Prep School’s Exemplar Wall.

The bottom of the plaque carried Ida’s message, “Once a Preppie, always a Preppie!”

“Don’t ever forget what goes on here matters,” said Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the superintendent of the Air Force Academy. “So much of you as a prep school become the core of the cadet wing and so much of the cadet wing becomes the core of our Air Force.

“To the Class of 2018, you honor and inspire us by your selection of Ida Widmann tonight. She shows us that exemplary character matters. Character matters when you’re at the prep school as a cadet candidate, it matters when you’re a cadet in the cadet wing and it matters when you’re a United States Air Force officer.”