MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
It is not uncommon for Marine Corps Logistics Command to provide community support through volunteerism. When the opportunity came for two Marines to reflect on their youth and share their experiences and wisdom with a local youth football league Nov. 13, they jumped at the chance.
Col. Terry W. Reid, commander, Maintenance Center Albany, and Master Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Williams, maintenance management chief, Maintenance Management Center, LOGCOM, were invited to be the guest speakers at an awards banquet for a group of young boys who played youth football, but needed encouragement not to give up despite their losing season.
Reid shared his childhood and background with the youth and their parents by telling them some of the challenges he had to overcome and some of the relationships he built.
“When I was your age, I participated in scouting, wrestling and football. I have several childhood friends that I know if I called them in need today, they would come to my rescue. Why, because it was all about the team. We had each other’s back and didn’t want to let each other down,” he said.
After explaining his role as a colonel in the Marine Corps and a leader of Marines, he continued, “Today, my team is a little bigger, but it is still about not letting each other down. As Marines, we pride ourselves with being the best fighting force in the world. Everyday we train hard to be the best and our history has shown that we are the best, but that is because we will never let our fellow Marine or teammate down.”
Reid told the youth that when Marines go to war, they have a mission to complete, but when the bullets start flying, it is about doing your part to ensure the success of the team. If a Marine fails to do their part to accomplish that mission, it can have negative consequences.
“As you continue to grow up and participate on different teams, continue to work hard to do your part. Work as hard as you can to be the best at your assigned position, whether it is tackle, guard, running back, receiver or quarterback, so the team won’t fail. In life, teams will change and playing fields will change, but your mentality shouldn’t,” Reid said.
Reid concluded by saying in order to be a winner, you have to respect the team and do your part in supporting the team effort.
“I keep this plaque on my desk that says: No one can be the best at everything, but when we combine our talents, we can be the best at virtually anything. Who am I? I am Terry Reid, a member of the Marine Corps Team,” he said.
Williams said that when he was invited to join colonel Reid in speaking to the youth and learned that their record was 0 - 6, he knew it was going to be tough to encourage them to keep fighting and staying committed to their team.
“I took a step back and put things in perspective, remembering my time as a football player. Words began popping up in my head like pride, heart, determination, commitment and resilience,” he said.
Williams told the youth, “All of you are winners and you are not defined by your record. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and look at every player on your team and say to yourself that you have given 100 percent, then you have done your job and should still be proud. You could have easily quit the team, got down on each other and blamed one another for your shortcomings, but you didn’t.”
Williams told the youth to take this season as a lesson learned the hard way, but don’t give up.
“You kept on fighting and now you know what it’s like to taste defeat and it should make you hungry for victory next year. Take all the things you have learned, apply it to next season and stay together as a team. When a teammate is down, pick them up and encourage them to keep going. During the off season when other kids are doing things like playing video games, participating in other sports and relaxing after school, take a little time each week to work on your skills so you can come back even better next season,” he said.
Williams concluded by saying that his team in the Marine Corps is 203,000 strong and because of their training and leadership, they are winning battles and wars all over the world.
“Believe in yourself and believe in your coaches. Practice like champions, play like champions and you will become champions,” he said.
Coach Eric McCallum said he invited both Marines to speak to his team of nine-and 10-year-old boys to help motivate them to be respectful and responsible, both on the field and off. “They shared their life experiences with them, including their time playing youth football. Many of these kids are from single parent homes and it can be hard on them. I wanted them to learn from role models about reaching their goals and not giving up.”