August 10, 2015 --
Thirty-plus years of volunteer service to youth and to the community pays off for one retired service member, whose notable contribution to “giving back” gained him an anonymous nomination for a prestigious service award.
In a ceremony held at the Young Marines of Albany headquarters, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Aug. 5, Tracey Smith, news anchor/reporter, Fox 31 News, Albany, Georgia, presented the Thomas Jefferson Community Service Award to its newest recipient, retired Marine Corps Master Sgt. Nathaniel Lowman.
“We just nominated Mr. Lowman for the Jefferson Award,” Smith said. “(It’s) a national award; we just started up the program here locally. We felt there really was a need to start recognizing our local heroes.
“We sat down and we started receiving nominations and when we came across his…” she recalled, “across the board, everyone thought he was making a huge impact in the community and that he would be the perfect candidate to represent what this award is and what other people should emulate when it comes to giving back to children and continuing that service. It’s not just a one-time gift.”
“It was a blind-nomination process,” Smith explained. “He was actually nominated by a teacher, who said she had seen students (who) he has worked with come through her school and has seen the impact (he) has made. That came from someone who wasn’t directly involved with the Young Marines, but who had just seen the impact on the classroom side.
“So, that’s how the process works; they submit the application,” Smith pointed out. “They could have told him they submitted him, but he clearly didn’t know.”
Lowman, who is no stranger to receiving awards and recognition for service to the community and for his work with the Young Marines Program, admitted he was not expecting the award.
“(In 2013), I received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Award,” Lowman said. “Now this award was very surprising to me. I was never expecting this and I was never expecting that someone had (nominated) me for an award.”
According to Lowman, he has been volunteering in various community programs since 1985; he started the Young Marines Program while stationed in Okinawa Japan and started MCLB Albany’s first Young Marines Program in 1997.
“Every duty station I’ve been (assigned to), I did volunteer service,” he reflected. “I volunteered for Special Olympics and any program they have for community service, I always got involved or I got my Marines involved.”
This local nomination puts Lowman in the running for a national recognition and a trip to Washington, D.C. at the end of this award cycle, according to Smith.
Lowman reciprocated his Jefferson Award and presented Smith with a Young Marines of Albany T-shirt.