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08-31-06, 03:11 PM #1
Generous first sergeant receives national recognition
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (August 31, 2006) -- When most Marines hear the word “volunteer” uttered either in a casual working environment or standing in a formation, eye contact with the person who speaks it immediately ceases and that minutely, nonchalant step backward is usually taken.
However, there is typically one or two Marines who raise their hand and step forward without knowing what to expect as a result.
Well, 1st Sgt. Sam D. Lewis, the company gunnery sergeant for Engineer Maintenance Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, is a handraiser.
Lewis has been volunteering his time at various ministries in the surrounding area since 2001.
Beginning at the Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed more than five years ago, Lewis now spends his time teaching the gospel at the Craven County Jail in New Bern, N.C., for both the adult and juvenile inmates.
“Volunteering is a great way to give back to our neighborhoods and communities,” said Lewis. “I do it because I know somewhere along the line, someone made sacrifices for us.”
Lewis has personally coined a phrase he uses on an everyday basis, and whether he is teaching his Marines at work, children at AWANAs or inmates at the prison, these words have proven helpful in every situation when enforcing the importance of proactive living.
“What is right today is right tomorrow and what is wrong today is wrong tomorrow,” said Lewis.
The phrases’ meaning comes from problems he sees in the world around him, whether it is in the military or in his community. In simple terms, when something is right, it is always right, but when something is wrong, it cannot be sugar coated to taste right, because it is still wrong.
Spending one hour per week at each of the three locations, Lewis feels he is able to positively affect the people he speaks to.
“I truly believe we are mentoring the future leaders of our country, because we truly are,” said Lewis. “People who have committed a crime and got locked up can still make a change in their life. If they have a good head on their shoulders they can still succeed in society.”
Lewis received the 2006 Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award for his hard work and efforts in volunteering around the community, and while he feels honored for the recognition he remains adamant on not doing it for the awards.
“I am deeply honored to have been submitted and chosen for this award, but I would just like to thank all the Marines I have mentored and the Marines who have mentored me,” said Lewis. “I really owe it to them. I don’t do it for the accolades.”
He would also like to thank his wife and children for their unconditional love and support throughout his Marine Corps career.
“My wife really held her own when I was away on deployment,” Lewis. “And she’s been really good at keeping up with my volunteering schedule and staying with the kids when I go to the prison. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to do many of the things I do.”
Lewis is undecided whether he will serve 20 or 24 years before exiting the Marine Corps, but he has inspirations to do missionary work when he does.
“If lives are truly going to be changed, we need to look at someone much bigger than ourselves,” said Lewis. “For me, it’s Jesus Christ. The greatest privilege we have is being able to spread his word around the world.”
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