Navy League, Rotary honor top Sailors, Marine

Two sailors and one Marine at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station needed wheelbarrows to haul away their honorary loot on Oct. 15.

Petty Officer 1st Class Stacey Allen, Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Russell and Sgt. Jason Crispin were named Sailors and Marine of the Year by Oak Harbor’s Navy League and Rotary Club.

The awards carry plaques, certificates, model planes, savings accounts and money for college.

While many were nominated, few were chosen.

“It was close,” NAS Whidbey’s Command Master Chief Petty Officer Ron Arthur said. “We have lots of people doing good things for the community.” Arthur headed the eight-person selection board and said community service counts for much of each person’s score.

Allen, Russell and Crispin volunteer so much of their time with so many different organizations, it’s amazing they find the time to work -- or sleep.

Crispin spends time practicing with the color guard and serving at funerals, parades and other functions. He works on Toys for Tots and Bikes for Tykes campaigns. He runs leadership camps and judges area high school ROTC drill teams.

“I volunteer wherever I can,” he said. “It’s awesome to live where the community and commands like us to be involved.”

Crispin thanked his two commands — AIMD and Marine Aviation Support Group 53 — for their support.

“I want to reflect the good intentions of the Marine Corps,” he said.

Crispin also finds time to play semi-professional football in Bellingham.

Allen is stationed at Naval Air Reserve. He’s active in Partners in Education. For the Defy Program, he serves as a mentor and summer camp counselor in the drug and alcohol youth education program. He also volunteers at Help House.

“I do anything people ask,” he said.

Allen recently graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and will begin work on his MBA degree in 2005.

Russell, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment’s Partners in Education coordinator, matches volunteers with schools. He also instructs students in English and arithmetic. Russell coached the City League championship basketball team and helped coach a Little League baseball team.

“I know many people who do as much as I do,” Russell said. “It’s great to live here. This is the first place I’ve lived where people in the community know who we (military) are and let us get involved.”

Although the awards are prestigious, each man said being a role model to kids and younger service members is more important than plaques, luncheons and gift certificates.

Allen summed up his feelings by saying, “I want to show junior sailors what they can achieve if they work hard.”

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