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Major Lee Taylor, retired, keynote speaker, explains how reading and winning go hand-in-hand during Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Summer Reading Awards Program at Covella Pond, Aug. 20.

Photo by Nathan Hanks

Base summer reading program concludes with awards, games

25 Aug 2016 | Nathan Hanks Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Summer Reading Program ended with awards, friendly games and a small lunch for youth booklovers at Covella Pond, Aug. 20.

The event, themed, “Read for the Win,” was held to encourage students to read during the summer while they were out of school.

According to Amos Tookes, librarian, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany, 80 readers participated in this year’s event and prizes were awarded based upon accumulated reading minutes. Nearly 170,000 minutes were accrued throughout the program. 

Keynote speaker, retired Marine Maj. Lee Taylor, expressed his love of reading and winning.

Taylor, who kept the audience engaged in the program by leading them in several cadences, said reading and winning go hand-in-hand.

He also encouraged the young readers to use a dictionary to help them when reading.  

“This book not only tells you the meaning of the words, but it also helps you break down the word and pronounce it correctly,” he said. “If you come across a word that you have trouble reading, look it up in the dictionary, ask a teacher, a parent or others for help in the correct pronounciation of the word.  Words have meanings and you want to be clearly understood.”

When it comes to winning, most people think about sports, according to Taylor.

“In fact, winning is a big part of life just as much as reading,” he stated. “We read about sports figures like Mark McGuire who hit 70 homeruns in a single season, a record broken by Barry Bonds three years later with 73 homeruns in a single season.”

Taylor also mentioned other famous sports icons including famous basketball players Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Lebron James, soccer player David Beckham, football player Tom Brady and tennis player Serena Williams and their winning careers.  

“They were great but they read about, were inspired by and learned from the greats through reading,” he continued.  “The more they read, the more they learned and the more determined they became to be better than those who came before them. They read to win. 

“The saying is true, the more you know the further you can go, in life and sports,” he added. “Knowledge is power.”

Taylor ended his speech with the most recent sport event, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

He recalled the medal count for the U.S. as of Aug. 19.

“Gold medals the United States won to date is 38, 16 in swimming, 10 in track and field, four in gymnastics and one in tennis, cycling BMX, rowing, shooting, wrestling, water polo and cycling. I read it online,” he said. “The United States also won 35 silver and 32 bronze medals. I know this because I ‘read for the win.’”

Taylor said the more people read, the more people win in all facets of life.

“It is imperative (a word in the dictionary you should look up and learn) that you read and retain as much knowledge as possible,” he said. “If you learn it now you won’t have to learn it later. Also reading will help you determine what you want to be when you grow up, and it is true, you can be anything you put your mind to, through reading. 

“A big advantage you have today is you can figure out early what you want to be when you grow up and start working towards that goal,” Taylor continued. “Start early and perfect over time, you will be the best when it is your time.  But you must read for the win.”

Taylor concluded his speech by leading the readers in one last cadence for the U.S. Olympic competitors.

Juan Gaytan, a retired Marine, had three out of four daughters to participate in the reading program.

“I want to motivate them to read,” Gaytan said. “This will help them with their studies, when they reach high school and college later in life. Education is very important.

“My youngest daughter was disappointed that she could not participate in this year’s program,” he said. “So I told her she will be old enough next year and the whole family can participate.”

Gaytan’s oldest daughter said she is glad her parents encouraged her to read.

“Once we go back to school, we will be one of the highest readers because we read during the summer,” she said.

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