Sailors to be honored for courage, commitment
By Frank Abderholden email@example.com | @abderholden January 3, 2014 5:28PM
The Lone Sailor is a bronze statue at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Lake County Council of the Navy League of the United States gives the statues to sailors of the quarter and sailors of the year at Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago. | Submitted photo
If you go ....
The event will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Port O’Call Banquet and Conference Center at Great Lakes. The dinner costs $55 per person, $100 per couple. The conference center is at 2601 A Paul Jones Street, Building 140. Signs will point the way to the second annual event. To purchase tickets call (847) 949-2553 or visit http://www.lakecountynlus.org/.
A Sailor of the Year will be honored for each of the eight commands which include Navy Region Midwest, Naval Service Training Command, Training Support Command, Naval Operations Support Center Active Duty, Naval Operations Support Center Reserve Duty, Naval Station Great Lakes, Recruit Training Command and Lovell Federal Health Care Center.
Updated: January 15, 2014 12:29AM
The Lake County Council of the Navy League of the United States is inviting community members to come honor sailors of the year at the end of the month as part of its ongoing effort to support those at Naval Station Great Lakes.
The league, which provides services to active and reserve personnel of the U.S. Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, will hand out Sailor of the Quarter and Sailor of the Year awards for all eight commands at the Navy base at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Port O’Call Banquet and Conference Center at Great Lakes.
“This a reward for putting so much effort into their military duties,” said President Mike French, adding that they present eight-inch “The Lone Sailor” statues to sailors of the quarter and a 15-inch statue for the yearly award.
“We give them this so they have some remembrance that they did a good job and it gives them an incentive to continue working hard,” he said. The statue is the embodiment of honor, courage and commitment. The original statue was created in 1987 and is located at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Undersheriff Raymond Rose quotes William Arthur Ward about the need to recognize the service men and women at Great Lakes: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
Rose said residents can start the year off right “by spending the evening with our local heroes serving at the Great Lakes Naval Station.
“This event gives Lake County residents the opportunity to celebrate service to others and service to our country,” he said.
The league provides funding for the Returning Warrior Program and other projects that benefit the sailors at Naval Station Great Lakes including the Sea Cadet Program, Veterans Day Memorials, Navy Ombudsman Program, summer cookouts for visiting Coast Guard sailors and Waukegan Airport Coast Guard personnel, Navy and VA Opportunity Day in Partnership with the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Toys for Tots collection sites, and Sailor of the Quarter Award programs.
They also support the Zion-Benton Township High School NJROTC, the North Chicago High School NJROTC and the Naval Sea Cadets Unit 9-1-1.
French said one of their most important activities is raising money for the spouses of the service men and women that are part of the Returning Warriors Program (RWP), which provides deployment support and reintegration programs for those trying to wind down from their active duty assignments.
“Funding laws only cover the service member for RWP, so we raise money to cover the spouses so they can go with and be part of the healing process,” he said.
Last year, Rear Adm. Ricky Williamson, commander, Navy Region Midwest, spoke at the event.
“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for everything the Navy League does here in Lake County and nationwide for our sea services. Your support of our sailors, cadets, NROTC and NJROTC units and countless other programs continue to keep our future bright,” he said during his opening remarks.
The sailors also appreciate the recognition.
“This is one of those moments where you can sit back and say I accomplished something. And you can show other sailors that this is the type of recognition you can receive for doing your job,” said Junior Sailor of the Year, Yeoman 1st Class Camille May, 29, of Muncie, Ind.
“This night tops off the accomplishments all of us have achieved over the past year,” said RTC’s Recruit Division Commander (RDC) of the Year, Damage Controlman 1st Class Richard Regulski, 28, from Roseville, Mich.
“Being recognized by our commands and by the Navy League is very rewarding for all of us,” he said.