View Full Version : Former Marine, Commodore finds home away from home

07-30-04, 06:41 AM
Former Marine, Commodore finds home away from home
Submitted by: MCRD Parris Island
Story Identification #: 2004729122830
Story by Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (July 30, 2004) -- Once individuals make the decision to enlist in the military, they are uprooted from their hometown and sent off to a new, unfamiliar place where they will serve until their obligatory time of service has ended. Most of the time they will then head back to the place they call home.

For some, that is not the case. The community that they once referred to as just a duty station has slowly become a home in their minds, and they start a new life there when their service has ended. Such is the case of Marvin Morrison - the 2004 Commodore of the 49th Annual Beaufort Water Festival.

Originally from Ferndale, Mich., Morrison enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1978 and following his 11 years of service, he decided to stay right here in Beaufort, the place he now calls home.

Morrison arrived at Parris Island in 1978, and following graduation from recruit training, his tour of duty away from home began. Morrison began his career with six years in the active reserves. He enjoyed the Corps so much that he decided to enlist as an active duty member for another five years during which time he deployed to the Middle East for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Upon his return to the states, Morrison ended up back in the Beaufort area, when he received orders to serve aboard MCAS Beaufort. After two years aboard the air station, Morrison's time was up, but instead of heading back up north, he decided to stay. Because of the time he had spent in the area, Morrison developed strong ties to the community and decided to make it his new home.

"I couldn't think of a much better place to live," said Morrison. "One thing I learned while in the service is that there are a lot of duty stations where the surrounding communities don't like the military, but that's not the case at all in Beaufort. The hospitality that Beaufort extends to everyone, military or civilian, is what prompted my wife and I to stay here."

A resident of Beaufort for more than a decade now, Morrison has become an active member of the community and works as the operations officer for southern enforcement with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

"It was easy to see his military training come to life during the festival," said Bob Bible, water festival public affairs coordinator. "He made sure everything was done and was done right, which in the end allowed everyone to really enjoy a Lowcountry celebration."

Morrison said that it is hard to think of a situation where he has not used something he learned while in the Marine Corps and credits the training he received to who he is today.

"The Marine Corps prepared me for a lot of things I have had to deal with in life, whether it be in my career or even during my time as commodore," he said.

It might be because of his hard charging Marine attitude that he already has plans and ideas for next year's festival, even though he has passed on his title as commodore.

"He's a good, solid leader and he is really easy to work with," said Richard Norris, a festival board member who has known Morrison for the past 12 years. "I was named as next year's commodore and he has prepared me for everything and has already made sure I'll be working with the best crew."

Morrison will be chairman of the board for the festival next year and said no matter what title he has, he is happy to just have the chance to work with such great people, many of them friends he has made since Beaufort became his new home.

"It's a good feeling to be picked for things like this," he said. "It gives you the feeling that you are really accepted as part of the community."


Elizabeth Smith, Beaufort clerk of court, introduces the 2004 Water Festival Commodore, Marvin Morrison, at the opening ceremony in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park July 16.
Photo by: Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski