Four nominees have now been recognized for the AC2 Whitney Powell Memorial Military Citizen of the Year Award.
“For this community to be successful and for us to be successful, we have to rely on each other. This is a pathway that we have to make those communications and those relationships better. Our kids go to the schools out in town, we go to the churches, we coach youth sports leagues—we’re involved in the city life as much as the city folks are. This is an opportunity for them to see the Navy and come to appreciate Navy folks,” said NAS Meridian Commanding Officer Brian Horstman.
This award is given to one enlisted member at Naval Air Station Meridian each year for their volunteer service within the community. This year, Yeoman 1st Class Jennifer Purcell is taking home the award.
“It also gives you the sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself. So, sometimes a lot of people can get caught up in the day-to-day of going to work, going home, and repeat. Sometimes, it’s nice to get out and get to know the people in your community and be
a part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” said Purcell.
Purcell volunteers at places such as Till Newell’s Animal Hospital, Coyote Equine Hills Rescue, and Habitat for Humanity. Her favorite part of volunteering? She gets to do it with her daughter.
“A lot of those places will allow my daughter to volunteer with me, and not a lot of places will take them if they’re under 18. So, it’s great because you can involve your family, you can start your children early. My daughter has grown up in that world of volunteering, and I think that’s something that’s been established at her core, so hopefully when she becomes an adult, she’ll continue on doing that as well.”
The AC2 Whitney Powell Memorial Citizen of the Year Award is named after Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Whitney Powell who died in a car accident on Hwy 39 in 2013. She was very active in our community in organizations such as Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency and Wesley House Women’s Shelter and Calvary Chapel.