Utahn recognized for volunteer work on behalf of NASA

Posted at 9:46 PM, Aug 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-16 23:46:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- You may have seen Patrick Wiggins on FOX 13 in the past, but now Utah’s NASA ambassador has been awarded the space organization’s highest civilian honor.

Wiggins said he was honored to be receiving the Distinguished Public Service Medal, which has previously been awarded to people like William Shatner and Carl Sagan.

“When I first heard about it, it was like, ‘You’ve got the wrong guy,’” Wiggins said with a laugh.

Wiggins is one of a handful of Utah-based NASA ambassadors who work to help the public understand what is happening in space—from eclipses to meteor showers and more. Wiggins began his volunteer work with NASA in 2001.

An ambassador for NASA is asked to do between four and five events each year. But Wiggins averages closer to 85 events each year and has done more than 1,000 interviews.

“I’ve been, shall we say, an over-achiever, I suppose,” Wiggins said. “It was the same way in the military; I’m just always doing stuff.”

See the video above for more of Wiggins comments on his work and the award. Click here to learn more about NASA Solar System Ambassadors.