NAS Names Citizens of the Year

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The Meridian Area Navy League honored seven servicemen and women for their commitment to community service in 2002.

But one man, Petty Officer James Page, was selected as the Military Citizen of the Year.

Page said he wants to make an impact on the base and in the community.

"I really enjoy going out trying to make a positive impact organizing events for I know if I go out and do these things, I'm making a singular effort," said Page. "But if I can employ others to do the same, we can make the program that much better."

Several areas officials joined the Navy League in honoring these outstanding men and women. Craig Hitt, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, said these good citizens deserve the honor because of the influence they have in east Mississippi.

"I don't think we can justly describe the importance of it," Hitt said. "I know from past experience with Habitat for Humanity and seeing the military groups come in and help build houses in Meridian and Lauderdale County. The work that they do is just immeasurable."

Recognizing key members of a winning team like NAS is a primary function of the Navy League.

Bill Johnson, the league's president, said the support role his organization performs not only shows the community's appreciation for the military, but it helps ensure that NAS Meridian stays open.

"Sometimes it's the small things that tip the scale in favor of keeping the base," said Johnson.

And that issue may be on the table again in coming years.