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Albany Young Marine receives ‘life saving’ award

By Pamela Jackson | | September 23, 2010

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“I couldn’t let him drown because they (leaders of the young Marines program) have instilled values in me,” said an Albany Young Marine after he received a Life Saving Award here, Friday.

Nick Leggett, a 16-year-old Lee County High School student and five-year Young Marine participant, saved another teen’s life in a Charlotte, N.C., hotel swimming pool, Aug. 7. 

Leggett, one of several young Marines attending a Division III Unit Management Course in Charlotte, said he never thought all of this recognition would happen for doing something he felt he had to do.

 “We were swimming in the pool at the hotel when another boy started to kick, struggle and panic in the deep end,” Leggett said.  “His mother couldn’t do anything and it just came to me to save him.”

For his quick actions, Maj. Gen. James A. Kessler, commanding general, Marine Corps Logistics Command, Albany, Ga., presented him with the National Life Saving Award.

Kessler said it was a great privilege to present the award and he was proud to honor Leggett.

“I wasn’t even planning to tell my mom about it, but decided I should mention it. Getting this award is a great honor for me,” Leggett said.  “I want to stay with the Marine Corps and plan to join after graduation from high school.”

The award presented to Leggett was signed by Mike Kessler, the national executive director of the Young Marines program, a retired Marine and brother of the LOGCOM commanding general.

According to the Young Marines’ Web site, www.youngmarines.com, the program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. 

“We work with youth to help them become leaders, make better choices and stay away from drugs,” said retired Master Sgt. Nathaniel Lowman, commanding officer, Albany Young Marines.  “This is an honor and many Marines are following in his footsteps.”

The Web site reads: Young Marine units are community-based programs led by adult volunteers. Many of these volunteers are former, retired, active duty or reserve Marines who believe the values they learned as Marines had a positive affect on them.

“The faculty and members of the Young Marines of Albany are very proud of Leggett,” said Randolph Scott, the program’s 2nd Battalion executive officer.  “He used his leadership training provided by the program to take charge of a situation where he observed someone needing help to prevent a drowning.  He quickly accessed the situation and took the appropriate action.”

Scott said Leggett applied the life saving skills he learned in the mandatory cardiopulmonary resuscitation class taught to Young Marines.

The Albany, Ga.-based program started in 1997 and since inception, has graduated more than 1,000 Young Marines.

In the past 52 years, the national program has evolved into a premier youth education program for boys and girls, age 8 through the completion of high school.

To learn more about the Young Marines program, call (229) 639-5285.


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