By Penny Randall / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
In 2012, Naval Air Station Meridian military and civilian personnel committed 1,614 hours of volunteer service to the local community. The effort has earned the air station three first place honors and one second place in the Navy Region Southeast Community Service Program.
The Navy annually recognizes outstanding community service projects. These awards are presented in five categories: Personal Excellence Partnership; Health, Safety and Fitness; Campaign Drug Free; Project Good Neighbor; and Environmental Stewardship.
Entries are then broken down into shore, sea and overseas by small, medium and large commands. NAS Meridian competes in the shore, medium command category.
NAS Meridian earned first place in Personal Excellence Partnership, Project Good Neighbor and Environmental Stewardship; and second place in Health, Safety and Fitness.
"I would like to offer my sincerest personal thanks to everyone who selflessly volunteered their time to improve the quality of life in the city of Meridian as well as Lauderdale and Kemper counties," said Capt. Charles C. Moore II, commanding officer of NAS Meridian. "A total of over 277,976 volunteer service hours were contributed throughout the region with over 1,600 committed by NAS Meridian staff."
NAS Meridian will now be entered as the Navy Region Southeast nomination for the Commander, Navy Installation Command USS Bainbridge Award — the Navy's highest award for overall excellence in community service.
Personal Excellence Partnership projects included a large number of schools, Meridian Little Theatre, Central United Methodist Church Children's Center, The Main Event and Area-08 NJROTC.
Good Neighbor projects included Habitat for Humanity, Angel Food Ministries, LOVE's Kitchen, Wesley House Community Center, Silverleaf Manor and United Blood Service Center.
Environmental Stewardship projects included John Stennis Drive, Magnolia Cemetery and 10th Avenue Cemetery cleanup.
Health, Safety and Fitness projects included Special Olympics, NJROTC, Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament, Northeast Elementary School Fall Festival, Kemper High School Family Fitness Day and Susan G. Komen Walk for Life.
"I continue to be impressed with the enthusiasm, innovation and atmosphere of conservation and energy efficiency of all our personnel in supporting the station's mission of 'Enabling and Sustaining the Warfighter,'" Moore said. "Both uniformed and civilian personnel here are proud of their station and their contribution to national defense and I am proud of them."