“This event is about recognizing service, and recognizing those that give back to their community and serve beyond their roles and responsibilities in the military,” said Bryan K. Stephens, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber during his opening remarks for the 2017 Military Citizen of the Year Award Luncheon.
Over 200 service men, women and business professionals were in attendance as the Hampton Roads Chamber hosted the 2017 Military of the Year Award Luncheon on Thursday, October 12th at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. This annual event honors enlisted military individuals who demonstrate selfless service, extraordinary leadership and provide personal and public contributions that positively affect the Hampton Roads community.
This year’s Samuel T. Northern Military Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Petty Officer Second Class Tarrell Jones. “Thank you to the Hampton Roads Chamber,” said Jones “it is truly an honor to have been selected to receive this award with the work that I am passionate about.” Petty Officer Jones volunteers with numerous organizations including Mobile Meals of Norfolk, where he delivers nourishing meals to disabled elderly citizens using his own personal vehicle, J&A Racing’s Surf n Santa 5 Miler and the 12th Annual Caribbean Festival. He’s an Alumni of Granby high school where he serves as a NJROTC mentor for the cadets. Petty Officer Jones also rose over $1,000 in monetary funds for many of the organizations and recruited his fellow Sailors to aide in his mission to give back. He concluded his speech with this, “Life in the military means that you move place to place a lot and I believe volunteering is essential for us to connect and get to know the citizens that make these wonderful and diverse communities. This makes my new command stations feel like a home.”
Each year, commands based throughout Hampton Roads are asked to nominate individuals for this honor. Members of the Chamber’s Armed Forces Committee then select the winner based upon their full, active and sustained participation in activities that benefit the community. Nominees are involved in everything from coaching Little League® teams, youth mentoring, fundraising, emergency medical services, and many more community programs. Petty Officer Jones was among 28 other nominees for this award who all devote their time towards the mission of giving back.
“Living here in Hampton Roads the quality of life is a hallmark and a lot of that has to do with the volunteer of service around our community,” said Delegate Cliff Hayes, Virginia House of Delegates (77th District) who served as the Keynote Speaker. His message was focused on “the 3 C’s” which referred to compassion, concern and commitment. “There will be others who will look for those (3 C’s ) especially commitment and support,” said Delegate Hayes. He encouraged those in the room to be sure to throw the rope back for someone else and continue to uplift the Hampton Roads community.
Samuel T. Northern was a local businessman who devoted most of his life to strengthening the relationship between the local community and the military. Since 1951, this award has been given annually to recognize the military citizen who has made the most significant contribution in the area of community service. Each year, commands based throughout Hampton Roads are asked to nominate individuals for this honor. Members of the Chamber’s Armed Forces Committee then select the winner based upon their full, active and sustained participation in activities that benefit the community.
To affirm our efforts in being an inspiring ignitor, the Hampton Roads Chamber is proud to host this event each year to show our appreciation for the local military presence here in Hampton Roads and give our members and community an opportunity to do the same.
Congratulations to all who were honored at the 2017 Military Citizen of the Year Award Luncheon.
Petty Officer First Class Laurie Adams
Petty Officer First Class Alan Anderson
Petty Officer First Class Anthony Bond
Petty Officer Second Class Daniel Burton
Petty Officer Second Class Randall Cieleszko
Petty Officer Second Class Benjamin Gomez
Petty Officer First Class Marvin Gordon
Petty Officer Second Class Chelsea Hansen
Petty Officer Second Class Tarrell Jones
Petty Officer Second Class Jae Kim
Petty Officer Second Class Ariane Logan
Sergeant David McKenna
Technical Sergeant Phillip Miles
Petty Officer Second Class Adam Miller
Staff Sergeant Octavio Montalvo
Petty Officer Third Class Brandon Perryman
Airman Steven Rash
Petty Officer Second Class Jequavius Render
Petty Officer First Class Nicole Robinson
Petty Officer Second Class Dominic Shorter
Petty Officer Second Class Jesus Soto
Petty Officer First Class Samuel Speed
Petty Officer First Class Jane Tupas-Abuel
Petty Officer First Class Robert Van
Petty Officer First Class Michael Van Buren
Petty Officer First Class Christina Vitale
Petty Officer First Class Tatiana Penigar
Petty Officer Second Class Deshondria Howradcrockett
Thank you to our sponsors: The City of Norfolk (City Sponsor); Kroger (Gold Sponsor); Cox (Media Sponsor); PSAV (Audio Visual Sponsor); JPM Financial Services/ John's Tax Services (Silver Sponsor); Jordan DiCaprio Photography (Photography Sponsor); GEICO (Military Legacy Partner); USAA (Military Platinum Partner); Women In Defense and Saint Leo University (Special Military Program Partners)