NEW LONDON, Conn. – A Sailor assigned to Port Operations onboard Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London was recognized as Service Person of the Month by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut (the Chamber) and the New London Lions Club, January 21.
Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Aaron Mason has volunteered extensively at the New London Meal Center and brought Sailors from his own and other departments to help feed the community’s less fortunate, in addition to performing his normal duties at Port Operations. For his community service, Mason was honored with a feast at a local restaurant hosted by the Lions Club and representatives of the Chamber.
“Petty Officer Mason established himself as the core of this command’s cohesiveness and ability to complete the mission,” said Angie Clay, a representative of the Chamber, reading a report written by Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Faron Carhee. “He earned the highest respect of the senior and juniors he works with, as well as the civilians he works alongside on the waterfront. In my diverse career of Naval service, whether at sea or ashore, Petty Officer Mason has my utmost trust and confidence. Petty Officer Mason’s dedication to command involvement and mission success is evident by his initiative to coordinate multiple community relations events with the New London Meal Center, volunteering 43 hours serving meals and providing after-meal cleanup duties to less fortunate families and citizens. He contributed 12 hours setting up a Naval heritage exhibit, displaying seamanship skills during the New London Maritime Heritage Festival. Additionally, he serves as an active participant of the Honor Guard for countless veteran funeral services throughout Connecticut.”
After Clay read the write-up, Carhee stood up to elaborate on Mason’s accomplishment and her command’s satisfaction with his performance as a Sailor and a citizen.
“He is definitely a great representative of SUBASE,” said Carhee. “There isn’t a single thing I have asked him to do that he pitched a fit about. He always gets it done, he is the go-to.”
Carhee added that Mason organized a group of higher ranking Sailors to volunteer at the meal center.
“He actually got a bunch of khakis together and it was my first time at the meal center,” said Carhee. “It was a very humbling experience. I was very glad he brought me out. I thank everyone for recognizing him.”
Mason was called forward by Clay and Dara Wicken, another representative of the Chamber, and presented with an etched plaque and various gifts from members of the Chamber. He was also given a check from the Lions Club.
“Every first Tuesday of the month I’ve been trying to get enough people to go every week so we have Navy support so they can see how many people need to go to the community center, who need food,” said Mason. “It’s not hard. I mean, you have to give back to your community. This community does a great job supporting the Navy.”
Mason added that he is also trying to get other Sailors involved from his command and other tenant commands at SUBASE New London.
“Every first Tuesday of the month I’ve been trying to get enough people to go every week so we have Navy support so they can see how many people need to go to the community center, who need food,” said Mason. “I try to get Sailors from the base, I get a list from Port Ops and people have my number. I try to have about 10. I’m kind of like the volunteer coordinator. I’m not great at it, but apparently they think I’m good at it.”
Mason coordinates with the SUBASE New London Junior Enlisted Association to get Sailors involved in volunteering. Those who would like to reach out to Mason can contact him by calling (860) 694-2663 or by emailing Aaron.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SPOM Program is organized by the Chamber and local Rotary and Lions Clubs to honor local military personnel of all branches who not only excel in their regular duties, but also go above and beyond through volunteer service to the community.