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thedrifter
02-01-08, 05:25 AM
Honor comes as surprise
AMANDA HICKEY
February 1, 2008 - 4:10AM
DAILY NEWS STAFF

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is part of a series profiling Onslow County's Intriguing African-American Women, who will be honored Saturday along with women from surrounding counties, by The NorthEast Community Development Corp.



When Master Gunnery Sgt. Avril M. King, 41, learned she was being nominated for outstanding work in the community, she was shocked.

"I actually don't believe it. I don't think I see myself as others see me," King said.

King and six other Onslow County women will be honored by NorthEast Community Development Corp. on Saturday for their service to the community.

King has received many awards. But she doesn't hold them as close as she does meaningful words.

"The things that really sit with me are when people come up to me and say things from their heart," she said.

King works as the court reporter chief at Legal Services Support Section on Camp Lejeune. She also works with the Marine Corps Recruiting Command in an effort to increase minority enlistments in the Corps.

When King was asked to submit a biography, she thought Col. Adele Hodges was looking to fill a position. It wasn't until she received another phone call asking for the biography that she was told the truth - that she'd been nominated by Hodges for the recognition by the NorthEast Community Development Corp."It was definitely humbling when I got the call, and I was excited, very excited," she said with a smile.

King said she's most proud of the degrees she's earned and of being a mother to two daughters, age 22 and 11, and a grandmother to one grandson, 2.

King enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1984 order to better herself.

"Most people who come into the Corps have something to prove to themselves. ... I knew I wasn't ready for college, but I wanted discipline," she said.

King came to North Carolina in June 2002, with an initial stint at the Joint Law Center at Cherry Point Air Station as court reporter chief and legal services chief. There, she received her bachelor of science degree from Southern Illinois University.

In 2005, she arrived at Camp Lejeune and is pursuing her master's degree in management with a human resources track.

"I love my Marines to pieces. I expect a lot of them, but no more than I am willing to do myself," she said.

Taking care of her fellow Marines is like taking care of your family, she said. You don't have to like them, but you will help whenever you can.

Not only does she help Marines, she looks up to them as well, describing Hodges - who just concluded her assignment as the first female, first black and first colonel commanding officer of Camp Lejeune - as her "shero."

"As much as she thinks of me, I think more of her for her accomplishments," King said. "She is one of the threads I have woven into my character."



Contact staff writer Amanda Hickey at ahickey@freedomenc.com or 910-219-8463.

Ellie