By Navy JAG Corps public affairs
Legalman 1st Class Cynthia Hunter, Navy Region Northwest Reserve Component Command, was recently named the 2017 Navy Region Northwest Reserve Sailor of the Year and was one of five finalists to compete for Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year. Hunter is the first Legalman to be named as a finalist for this honor.
“I was nominated for the Reserve Sailor of the Year by Navy Region Northwest Reserve Component Command Everett where I was serving on ADSW orders,” said Hunter. “It is important for the Legalman community to ensure their command is aware of and utilizing the Sailor of the Quarter (SOQ) programs through their Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSC). If they are mobilized, the NOSCs should be aware of this too. I have only been nominated for SOQ twice since affiliating with the Legal community – leadership should not be overlooking this valuable tool.”
The Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year for 2017 was announced during a ceremony at the United States Navy Memorial April 12. Engineman 1st Class Brandon Lovell was selected as the winner after a week-long selection-board process and schedule of events held in recognition of the finalist’s exceptional performance.
“There were many great events during the week,” said Hunter. “Dinner at Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Luke McCullom’s home, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us, and the monument run at dawn – each finalist had to brief a monument during the run. We finished at the Lincoln Memorial as the sun was rising. It was awe-inspiring.”
Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Luke McCollum announced the winner at the ceremony and remarked on the similarities between the finalists and the rest of the 59,000 Reserve Sailors he leads.
“Today we’re celebrating the accomplishments of these individuals,” McCollum said. “I have had a great week interacting with them and as I talked with them I found two things they had in common — high spirits and high determination. They are the representation of those 59,000. I saw what they stand for, what they give up, but the thing that stands out is their determination and desire to serve.”
Along with the tours and events, a selection-board including five master chiefs, chaired by Navy Reserve Force Master Chief Chris Kotz, interviewed, compared and screened the finalists to make their selection. Each of the finalists received Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals during the ceremony.
“I am honored and humbled beyond words to represent the Legal community and RCC NW,” said Hunter. “My selection was the result of great leadership and mentorship by both communities. I was intimidated by the process of preparing for the board but feel that this experience has made me grow as a Sailor and a person.”
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Jack Whittet initiated the Sailor of the Year program in 1972 to recognize outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. The program was later expanded to honor the top Shore and Reserve Force Sailors of the Year.