NAACP honors Marine captain
By Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | July 17, 2003
MIAMI, Fla. --
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People recently honored Capt. Steven S. Andrews by presenting him with the 2003 Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award.
The prestigious award is presented annually to one military or civilian Department of Defense member from each of the Armed Services who has distinguished themselves by contributing to military equal opportunity policies and programs.
The Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award was instituted in 1980 in recognition of the distinguished services of Roy Wilkins, the fifth NAACP executive director, who recognized that progress made for civil and human rights for African Americans must also encompass those who serve in the military.
This year's award presentation took place during a special military and veteran's affairs dinner at the association's national convention.
Andrews, the executive officer for Marine Corps Recruiting Station, Columbia, S.C., along with seven other military service members and Department of Defense employees received the award for outstanding service to community and country. Andrews was gratified to represent the Marine Corps in this manner.
"I'm very excited to have been selected as a recipient for the award," Andrews said. "Being part of Marine recruiting and interacting with the community validates what we do in the Marine Corps and in some small way gains exposure and establishes rapport for our recruiting mission."
Taking his experiences and upbringing from the streets of Philadelphia, Andrews' self-motivated contributions have snowballed into a creative endeavor focused not only on his career but toward a campaign in community involvement as well.
As a career Marine officer bred from the enlisted ranks, Andrews has been a volunteer, mentor and role model for various youth organizations and middle schools. Moreover, he has been a counsel to young adults and Marines in becoming life-long learners - something he feels passionate about to this day.
"I entered into community service because I wanted to give African American kids a dream. I wanted to be a positive influence in their lives," Andrews said. "I want young males to look to me and say 'Hey, I want to have that dream.'"
This belief sparked Andrews' desire to create Positive Youth of Tomorrow, a youth organization of multi-cultured youths formed and cultivated to embrace their diversity and foster an environment that dispels a wide range of stereotypes that plague society.
"Since being assigned to recruiting duty, Captain Andrews has taken advantage of his position in recruiting and made it his cause to dispel the negative perception that is commonly associated with military service," said Maj. Chuck Dunne, commanding officer of RS Columbia, S.C.
Andrews' determined actions proved to be helpful during the award selection process for the Marine Corps.
In order to determine each award recipient, each service was directed by the NAACP to form a selection board. The Marine Corps' board comprised a total of four members and one president of who were enlisted, officer and civilian. Andrews' actions mirrored the criteria to become nominated for the award.
"Captain Andrews' nomination package set him apart from the others because his activity wasn't just an extension of his billet at the RS," said Capt. Melissa Ayres, who served as board president on the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award selection board for the Marine Corps. "Captain Andrews truly made a difference in the community of Columbia."
To be nominated for the award, individuals had to meet certain criteria. Some of these included making significant contributions to country in the area of civil and human rights, race relations, equal opportunity, affirmative action, human resources or public service. One of the criteria included having individuals foster an innovative and creative involvement within the military or civilian community resulting in positive action on behalf of the residents.
Raised in a loving family with six brothers and three sisters, Andrews' parents never imagined that one day he would be a Marine Corps captain.
"That's one of the best things to happen to us," said Andrews' father, Acie Moore. "He's a great son and I think he deserves it. Although he's always told me he would do it, I would never have dreamed of him becoming a Marine officer. He's always had great potential and I saw it when he became the class president of his high school, Oleny High School in Philadelphia."
Andrews' dream and quest of becoming a Marine started at a very young age. He reflects back on the time he was introduced to a distant relative who was a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
"I saw him in his uniform and how much attention he was getting and I knew that is what I wanted to be," Andrews recalled. "Growing up in an inner city environment, there weren't too many positive black role models."
After graduating high school at age 17, Andrews enlisted in the Marine Corps in October 1987. After seven years of faithful and outstanding service, he applied for and was accepted into the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program.
While in the program, he attended and graduated from Clark-Atlanta University. During his first year of college he also completed Officer Candidates School. He graduated from college with a degree in elementary education and was commissioned a second lieutenant in May 1998.
Meanwhile, Andrews claims the pinnacle of his career was being a platoon commander at his first duty station as an officer with the 8th Communication Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
"I had direct interaction with the Marines as their officer-in-charge." Andrews said. "I enjoy being a leader of Marines and getting the Marines motivated to do their jobs."
Andrews' influence and motivation has even made an impact on some of his closest acquaintances.
"He (Andrews) not only wanted himself to succeed but others as well," said Staff Sgt. Tommie Lee Jones, Andrews' best friend who worked with him during his enlisted years and is now supply chief for the Inspector and Instructor Staff in Allentown, Pa. "He is always the kind of person that would push you to excel more."
Although he has achieved this prestigious award, Andrews is still adamant about Marines becoming the catalyst for community relations and vows to continue to make an impact among today's youth. One of his primary goals is to get more involved with the Alpha Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the importance of abstinence to young teenage males. In addition to living his dream, Andrews hopes his fellow Marines will follow as leaders of America.
"Marines are known as leaders," Andrews said. "They should put forth the effort in community service and get involved in areas where they work and live."