Story Number: NNS140228-31Release Date: 2/28/2014 9:02:00 PM
By Penny Randall, NAS Meridian Public Affairs
MERIDIAN, Miss. (NNS) -- Yeoman 1st Class Katherine Kurtz was named the recipient of the AC2 Whitney Powell Military Citizen of the Year Award during a ceremony at Weidmann's Restaurant in downtown Meridian, Miss., Feb. 28.
"I'm speechless and surprised, but I have to thank all those who volunteered beside me at many different events," said Kurtz who will soon transfer to the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. "Meridian is an amazing community and I will miss it."
Presented by the Mississippi Council of the Navy League and sponsored by the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation, the award recognizes enlisted military members who go above and beyond dedicating their personnel time to community service.
"It makes me really proud to be a part of this initiative that embodies what we should all do for our community - volunteer and serve," said Mike Reed who recently took the helm as president of the Mississippi Council of the Navy League.
"These young men and women who are stationed at NAS Meridian bridge the gap between the military and the community," said Reed. "This year's nominees were outstanding and the amount of service they performed in our community is unimaginable. It really humbles me."
The nominees included: Kurtz, an instructor at Naval Technical Training Center Meridian; Staff Sgt. Gregory Flowers, an instructor at Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron One; and Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class Brianna Wahl, who represented the administration department of the air station.
In 2013, the award was named in the honor of Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Whitney Powell, a well-known Sailor who was extremely active in the community. Powell died in a tragic car accident Feb. 7, 2013.
Kurtz is the coordinator of SHIPMATES program - which stands for Students Helping Interested People in the Meridian Area through Enthusiastic Service. She is a Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society caseworker and a Navy Military Training Instructor.
In 2013, YN1 Kurtz volunteered at LOVE's Kitchen, 2013 Run for the Wall, Navy League Wings and Tails and Bikers United for Kids Toy Drive. She also serves as the coordinator for Northeast Elementary School special needs children's performances on board NAS Meridian.
"We have hundreds of service members who volunteer each year from the installation, but these nominees are the best of the breed," said Capt. Charles C. Moore II, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss. "Our personnel take great pride in their community service and being a part of the local community while they are stationed here. I frequently brag to visiting dignitaries that Meridian is the best. I truly believe NAS Meridian and the community have the best civilian/military relationship in the entire service."
For more news from Naval Air Station Meridian, visit www.navy.mil/local/nasmeridian/.