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ODU Student Awarded Honorable Mention in Sailor of the Year Competition

An Old Dominion University student has received an honorable mention in the 2011 Navy Times Sailor of the Year competition.

CTN2 Ryan Powell, a sophomore information systems technology major from Charlotte, N.C., was one of two who received honorable mentions nationwide for the award, which is bestowed annually to service members from the five branches of the U.S. military by the Military Times newsweeklies.

A petty officer 2nd class, Powell, is a cryptologic technician with the Red Team of the Navy Information Operations Command in Norfolk. He has logged more than 600 volunteer hours in his two years of Navy service, for organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels and the Ronald McDonald House.

"CTN2 Powell always gives a helping hand, no matter how mediocre the work may seem," CTN3 Jonathan Turner wrote in a letter of nomination. "[He is] always willing to show someone around, [and he] helps new people become more comfortable when settling into the command."

Powell, who helps mentor junior sailors, also fought hard last year to have the instructions on automatic advancement become more clearly defined throughout the Navy. His work led to a change in the procedure for time-in-rate calculations that helped nearly 1,000 sailors advance more quickly.

"Being considered and selected as an honorable mention for the Navy Times Sailor of the Year is a great honor," Powell said. "Typically, awards and recognition are drafted by military senior enlisted and senior officer personnel. This award is different, in the sense that nominations are given by both civilians and the service member's immediate peers."

Powell was nominated for the award by five of his peers, and his nomination was later supported by the input of three more sailors. "It's an amazing feeling to know that I've helped and positively affected so many sailors, and an even better felling to have their support in what I do on a day-to-day basis," he said.

Powell is applying for the Seaman to Admiral-21 Program in hopes of becoming a naval officer.

Lt. Cmdr. Michael D. Files, deputy executive assistant to the assistant DCNO, OPNAV N1, based in Washington, D.C., was selected as 2011 Sailor of the Year.

Each year, Military Times honors five "Everyday Heroes" - service members who demonstrate pride, dedication and courage beyond what is expected, in five categories: Sailor of the Year, Soldier of the Year, Marine of the Year, Airman of the Year and Coast Guardsman of the Year.

These are service members who show concern for their fellow service members, their community and the country they serve. Many of the candidates are often overlooked and have gone unrecognized. Nominations are open to readers of the Military Times newsweeklies - including parents, fellow service members, supervisors and commanding officers - making this grassroots award unique.

Winners are recognized online, in the Military Times newspapers and at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., which is attended by officials from the service members' command, members of Congress and senior Pentagon officials.

The award was established in 2001 by Army Times Publishing Company (renamed in 2010, Gannett Government Media). The initial program highlighted exemplary achievement by a service member beyond the call of duty, but has since been expanded to include the following criteria:

• High level of professionalism;

• Concern for fellow service members; and

• Commitment to community service.

To be eligible for the award, nominees must be serving in the military (active duty, Guard or Reserve) through August 2011, with their exceptional service or achievements occurring in 2010.

This article was posted on: August 9, 2011

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