By MC3 Amanda L. Owens, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Spirit of Service Award Recipient CE2 Porfirio Pimentel, NMCB 11, addresses the general session at the American Legion 96th National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 26. Photo by Tom Strattman/The American Legion
President Barack Obama congratulated a Seabee from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 after receiving the American Legion Spirit of Service Award at the 96th Annual American Legion National Convention, Charlotte, NC, Aug. 26.
Construction Electrician 2nd Class Porfirio Pimentel received the Spirit of Service Award from the nation’s largest veteran service organization in recognition of his outstanding record of volunteer service.
“When you are busy doing volunteer work and someone comes, shakes your hand, looks straight in our eyes, says thank you and gives you the American Legion’s Spirit of Service Award, needless to say, it means a lot,” said Pimentel. “I want to make sure everybody knows I couldn’t do it without the help, support and advice from my amazing mother, wife and daughter, and the outstanding people in my command.”
Pimentel received the award by demonstrating outstanding military professionalism and a history of sustained volunteer efforts through his 11-year career in the U.S. Navy.
The Legion chose one member from each of the five armed services for the award. The awards were presented at a ceremony by American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger and Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle White.
“No one understands service in the same way that active duty, Reserve and veterans understand it. Those of us who have worn the uniform of our country know that our service does not end when the uniform comes off,” said White.
Pimentel was nominated for the award by his current commanding officer, Cmdr. Steven J. Stasick, NMCB 11.
“Petty Officer Pimentel is, without a doubt, the face of volunteerism in my command and a role model for junior Sailors to emulate,” said Stasick. “He clearly embodies what the Spirit of Service Award stands for.”
Pimentel’s extensive range of volunteer activities is highlighted by his involvement with the clean-up and rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina, his time teaching English to El Salvadorian army soldiers, and his work at a homeless shelter for kids in Djibouti.
Pimentel believes the large amount of time he has given to his community is a small price to pay for the big return he gets from seeing the smiles on the faces of people he has helped.
“Many people think that you need a lot of money to help other people, and the reality is that all you need is time,” said Pimentel.
“I never expected to be recognized for my volunteerism, much less by the President,” added Pimentel. “The opportunity to have the President recognize us individually is really an opportunity for [him] to recognize all of us in the Navy who take the time to volunteer in whatever we hold close to our hearts.”
In addition to the Spirit of Service Award, Pimentel received a one-year membership from the American Legion.
Photo by Tom Strattman/The American Legion