McKinney Awards honor service to military community - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

McKinney Awards honor service to military community

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Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 1:07 pm

Lee Walker and Pat Walker, along with Marine Federal Credit Union, received Mack McKinney Awards for service to the military community at Sywanyk’s Scarlet and Gold Traditions in Jacksonville, March 1.

The Down East Chapter of the Non-Commissioned Officers Association of America (NCOA) hosts the annual award ceremony named for C.A. “Mack” McKinney, a retired Marine sergeant major.

McKinney served 30 years in the Corps, seeing action in World War II, Korea and the Vietnam War before going on to enact sweeping legislative changes for the good of service members and their families by serving as the NCOA’s first legislative director. From this position, he successfully petitioned for military compensation and benefits commensurate with the demands and sacrifices associated with military service, according to NCOA.

According to the NCOA’s guidelines, “The award is presented to military members who have demonstrated professionalism, dedication, and service to our Country and its military over a sustained period of time.  It is also awarded to members of the local community who have demonstrated a strong support for our military community and their families.”

The Walkers were instrumental in the completion of Jacksonville’s Vietnam War Memorial, while Marine Federal Credit Union (MFCU) was recognized for continuous years of service to Onslow County’s military community. Marty Goldman, chairman of the board for MFCU, and Jeff Clarke, MFCU’s president, accepted the award on behalf of the credit union.

“Anyone who has been around the community knows how much of a stalwart fixture MFCU has been in this community,” said Paul Siverson, a retired Marine Corps sergeant major and NCOA member.

“Supporting the NCOA is just the right thing to do,” Goldman said. “It’s a pleasure to serve as the chairman of the board for MFCU, and I’m proud to have the best president anyone could ask for.”

The Walkers admitted to being surprised at receiving the award.

“I’m humbled. We both are,” Pat Walker said. “We just do things to help the community. We find what it needs and fix it.”

“I got the envelope and handed it to her [Pat] and said ‘It’s just an invitation. We get one every year!’ Then she told me to look at it, and I said ‘wow!’” Lee Walker said.

Former recipients of the award in attendance included Siverson, Goldman, retired Marine CWO-3 Alex Nevjloski Sr., retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Ihor Sywanyk, retired Marine Col. Wayne V. Morris and McKinney’s son, retired Marine reservist Lt. Mike McKinney.

“Mike and I won the award back in 2014,” said Morris. “He came all the way from Georgia for this.”

“It’s always a pleasure and an honor to be present at these awards,” said Mike McKinney. “It wasn’t until I came down the year after his passing that I realized and saw what a great award this is. … The NCOA was such an important part of his life and our life. It’s important now to get the younger troops involved because they need to be a part of these organizations. They need to be able to protect themselves.”

The Randy Reichter Memorial Scholarship to Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville was also dedicated at the event.

For more information on the NCOA Down East Chapter, visit https://ncoa906.webs.com/.

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