The Hampton Roads Chamber was honored to recognize the men and women of the Armed Services with the annual Military Citizen of the Year Award on October 12. “This ceremony is about much more than simply presenting an award. It’s an opportunity to recognize and pay respect to some of the most giving, caring, and selfless men and women in our community. Men and women who not only courageously wear our Nation’s cloth with tremendous distinction and sacrifice but also volunteer to help make Hampton Roads one of the best places in the country to live and raise families “ said Bryan K. Stephens, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber.
The 22 honorees give time to a variety of charities, organizations and causes, including The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, Habitat for Humanity, The American Cancer Society, Meals on Wheels and various schools throughout Hampton Roads. These are just a few of the organizations that are stronger thanks to the 2018 Military Citizen of the Year nominees.
The Samuel T. Northern Military Citizen of the Year award is named for a local businessman who spent much of his life, not just building a business, but strengthening the bonds between the military and citizens of Hampton Roads. Every year since 1955, the Chamber remembers Mr. Northern’s commitment by selecting a military citizen who goes above and beyond, volunteering as servants of the community. Each year, military commands based throughout Hampton Roads nominate individuals for this honor. Members of the Chamber’s Armed Forces Committee then select the winner based upon their active and sustained participation in activities that benefit the community.
The 2019 Samuel T. Northern Military Citizen of the Year is Petty Officer Second Class Elizabeth Kirlin from United States Coast Guard Center. Petty Officer Kirlin was selected for all her hard work and selfless dedication as Assistant Coach and Fall Head Coach for Great Bridge Crew Club from November 2017 to present. As a member of GBCC Coaching Staff, Beth provided instruction, leadership, mentorship, and has been a positive role model to the over 60 Chesapeake, Virginia Middle and High Schools students that comprise GBCC. “We greatly appreciate the time Petty Officer Kirlin has invested in our Team and children and look forward to continuing to reap the rewards she is teaching them. She is, without a doubt, a great addition to our community and sets the example of how Military personnel in the area can not only assist with community activities, but help them reach their highest goals,” stated Scott Minary, Great Bridge Crew Club President in his nomination letter. Petty Officer Kirlin has volunteered over 1000 hours since 2017. Along with assisting the Crew teams she volunteers for Partners in Education at Treakle Elementary where she mentors and tutors students. She was the lead for Feds Feed Families and assisted in the collection of more than 12 thousand pounds of food.
Senator Lionell Spruill Senior was the keynote speaker and offered these comments. “We say thank you to the military for their service. But today we are thanking them for their service to community. That often goes unnoticed, the hours they put in after their regular jobs to assist the people who live in Hampton Roads.”
The Hampton Roads Chamber also honored 21 other men and women of the Military for their volunteer service to the community.
Sergeant Gabriel Aikens, Air Force Material Command
Petty Officer First Class Clarence Allen, Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center
Petty Officer Second Class Charles Bryant, Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command
Petty Officer Second Class Rosa Cruz, Naval Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk
Petty Officer First Class Antonio Dye, Naval Fleet Logistics Center, Norfolk
Airman Hannah Fink, Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Detachment Norfolk
Petty Officer First Class Marvin Gordon, Navy Submarine Torpedo Facility
Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Graham, Naval Station Norfolk Air Operations
Petty Officer First Class Toi Graham, Naval Information Warfare Training Group Norfolk
Petty Officer First Class Shanequia Hollis, Fleet Readiness Center Mid Atlantic Oceana
Petty Officer First Class Phill Johannes, Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Detachment Norfolk
Petty Officer Second Class Tarrell Jones, Information Training Warfare Group Norfolk
Petty Officer Second Class Joshtin Melgarejo, Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Detachment Norfolk
Petty Officer First Class Parker Mills, Naval Information Warfare Training Group Norfolk
Petty Officer First Class Kendra Norman, Joint Forces Staff College
Petty Officer First Class Stinson Scott Commander, Carrier Strike Group TWELVE
Petty Officer Second Class Patrick Shores, Command, Carrier Strike Group TWELVE
Petty Officer First Class Lindsay Small, Commander, Carrier Strike Group TWELVE
Petty Officer First Class Daniel Stuart, Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center
Petty Officer Third Class Hanqiang Wang, Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Detachment Norfolk
Petty Officer First Class Sheena-Sade Watson, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Expeditionary Support Group Two
Thank you to our sponsors for this event: Series Gold Sponsor, City of Norfolk; Military Legacy Partner,
GEICO; Military Platinum Partner, USAA ; Silver Sponsor, JPM Financial Services; Military Gold Partner, ADS; Military Bronze Partners, Bon Secours Virginia Health System and Dollar Bank.