Students and staff at Naval Air Station Meridian regularly volunteer in the Meridian area. You can find them coaching at the Special Olympics or serving dinner at Love's Kitchen.
"When you hear the 10,000 to 14,000 volunteer hours a year that they have, it makes you realize the important role that they play in our community," said Bob Huff, treasurer of The Navy League.
Military citizens of the year are personnel who trying to take that extra step to impact our area while stationed here.
Each command at NAS Meridian selected its own representative. From those six nominees, Yeoman 2nd Class Petty Officer Elizabeth Avalos was chosen the overall winner.
"Community involvement is voluntary, but it has to be an integral part of what they do," said Avalos, the assistant coordinator for SHIPMATES, a program that donated 12,000 volunteer hours to Meridian and the surrounding area.
"They're continuously, throughout the year, throughout any time frame at
all time, doing stuff to help the community, to help themselves and to help families," said CSCS Jeff Bartelt of NAS Meridian.
For Elizabeth Avalos, volunteering in the community doesn't just affect the local charities. It impacts the volunteer.
"Our students have a great feeling when they come back from a project and that's what they talk about; it's good to hear that. It's good to know that we are making a difference, not only with our community but with our students as well," Avalos said.