Honoring Dr. King’s legacy of service

Story provided by Lt. Erin Chlum, public affairs officer for Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma

Petty Officer 1st Class Shantay Brock displays the book "Little Erroll" with author  during a Partnership in Education reading event in Petaluma, California. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Shantay Brock (left) displays the book “Little Erroll” with the author, Lt. Cmdr. Shameen Anthanio-Williams (right), during a book signing event at TRACEN Petaluma, Dec. 16, 2015. Photo by Lt. Erin Chlum.

This past Monday the Nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King’s birthday was originally designated as a federal holiday in 1983, then in 1995, Congress further designated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a federal holiday as a National Day of Service. Dr. King once said, “life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?” The recurring theme of MLK Day, “Remember-Celebrate-Act,” reminds us that the best way to honor Dr. King’s legacy is to serve others.

While we serve our nation each day through the selfless performance of our missions, another way the Coast Guard serves the nation is through the Partnership in Education program. Partnership in Education strengthens local communities and invests in our future by helping prepare students to become good citizens who will make significant contributions to the communities in which they live. Typically, Coast Guard members volunteer for Partnership in Education individually and participate in various activities with their assigned class, including reading to the students, participating in physical fitness or helping with other projects within the school.

Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma‘s Leadership Diversity Advisory Council used MLK Day as an opportunity to strengthen its Partnership in Education program with neighboring Two Rock Union Middle School. A group of 12 volunteers from the training center visited the school Jan. 13 to read the book “Little Erroll” by Lt. Cmdr. Shameen Anthanio-Williams. “Little Erroll” tells the story of Adm. Erroll Brown, the Coast Guard’s first black admiral, and teaches readers that it’s possible to overcome any obstacle to reach your goals through hard work and dedication.

“The opportunity to share an inspirational story with elementary school students seemed to be the perfect way to honor Dr. King’s legacy of service and equality,” said event organizer and Yeoman “A” school instructor, Yeoman 1st Class Shantay Brock. “Dr. King leaves behind a legacy of the empowerment and equal opportunities for all people, and ‘Little Erroll is a story about a little boy coming from humble beginnings to achieve the highest rank in the United States Coast Guard – during a time where the odds were against him. It focuses on hard work, determination, defeating obstacles and the unity that Dr. King so diligently fought for.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Dorothy Burke reads to children from the book "Little Erroll" during a Partenrship in Education reading event in Petaluma, California. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Dorothy Burke reads to children from the book “Little Erroll” at Two Rock Union School as part of Martin Luther King Day observations, Jan. 13, 2016. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Amber Brown.

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