It just occurred to me that this could be a great space for some good news. And I think I’ve found one great source: the military. Every other day it seems I receive an email-news release from a military communications person trumpeting an accomplishment of a local member of the armed forces. To be honest I had not given the emails much thought because, er, um, uh, because, I-we, had more pressing matters – BREAKING NEWS!!! TODAY’S BIG CRIME, or what I call- the “FREAK OF THE WEEK!” Spotlighting a local kid doing his job just didn’t register in the fog of the daily news battle to find the BEST STORY I can.
But when I looked this picture, it just happened to occur to me- this IS a great story. A kid, 2 years out of high school and, at times, thousands of miles away, is making his parents proud, by doing his job exceptionally well. BUT ALSO, this is a picture of two African American men in the “news,” and they haven’t committed a crime! Work with me now, on this Friday, as I look back on the news week. I’ve reported on the Virginia man accused of kidnapping a Philadephia woman- black; the Heather Graham suspect-black; and about a dozen other would-be criminals AND VICTIMS – all black males. Then, I check my email, pop open the attachment and VOILA! Two smiling faces-and they haven’t committed any crimes!! Here are the details from the NAVY writer: (Oct. 30, 2014) – “Airman Corey J. Jefferson (right), a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, and 2012 graduate of Kings Fork High School, received the award for Bluejacket of the Quarter aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) , Oct. 30.
“The Bluejacket of the Quarter (BJOQ) award recognizes the achievements of a Sailor between the ranks of E-1 to E-3. With approximately 1,200 Sailors aboard Makin Island, there were many within that range vying for the honor. ”It means a lot to me,” Jefferson said. “I am glad I get to represent the ship as the BJOQ. Jefferson is responsible for many of the ship’s pumps and equipment that provide clean, clear and bright JP-5 fuel to the aircraft, assault vehicles and support equipment. “I have a lot of fun doing my job. The people I work with make me want to come to work each day,” he said. Jefferson joined the Navy following in the footsteps of his father and his step-father, a machinist’s mate first class petty officer and damage controlman chief petty officer, respectively. ”Growing up seeing my Dad advance in the military gave me the drive to want to follow in what he did for his country,” said Jefferson. Jefferson is now looking to gain more experience and gain rank while taking advantage of the military’s educational opportunities. Makin Island, the flagship the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), are currently deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.” Corey Jefferson’s story follows a day after another great story that just so happened to involve the military-doing-good, and- African Americans.Take a look at all these smiling faces. More about them all on my Facebook page. But, let me key you in on the guy to the left of the two beautiful ladies. Back in November 1979, Bob Walters was a coast guard enlisted man stationed in Alaska. He and two others responded to a distress call. A ship with about 90 people on board had run aground and was in danger of sinking while being battered by high waves and wind. He and the crew went above and beyond to save dozens of lives. The tall gentleman to the right of the lady in blue, former USMC Master Sergeant Maurice Williams, was a SNIPER- during three tours of Viet Nam. His military colleagues say he had undocumented “kills” that put him in the league with the Marine Corps elite. And that, while he survived being shot, taken POW(tortured, shattered several vertebrae and a hip), Agent Orange exposure, prostate cancer, AND P-T-S-D! Both Williams and Walters were among those honored in the SUNTRUST (BANK) “UNSUNG HEROES AWARDS” program at NAUTICUS. Thank you, SUNTRUST, NAUTICUS, CBRE, and, the MILITARY, for the good news.