Bulldog detachment presents Marine of the Year award

December 15, 2005|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

The Marine Corps League of Hagerstown - Bulldog Detachment - named Sgt. Gene Danfelt Marine of the Year at its annual Christmas dinner Tuesday evening, Dec. 13, at Amvets Post 10 in Hagerstown.

League paymaster Carl Lenhart commended Danfelt for his service and professionalism. Lenhart said Danfelt volunteers his time to the league as a trainer for the color guard, which performs ceremonial drills at events from memorial services to youth baseball games. Danfelt also contributes to the league's effort to support the Toys for Tots program.

"(Danfelt) is a great asset to the Marine Corps League and to the community. He holds semper fidelis - always faithful - in his heart," Lenhart said.


Danfelt, 26, of Williamsport, said he served an eight-month tour as part of the U.S. invading forces in Afghanistan following Sept. 11. As part of the 4th Light Armor Reconnaissance Bravo Company of Frederick, Md., Danfelt has spent recent months assisting with recruiting efforts at the Recruiting Substation in Martinsburg, W.Va. He said he anticipates leaving for a tour in Iraq in June.

"I don't want to miss the opportunity to go," Danfelt said. "Some guys have done two or three tours there already. It's my turn to go over and do my part with my fellow Marines there."

The Marine of the Year award is bestowed upon a Marine Corps League member who provides outstanding service to the league and to the community. Danfelt said he was surprised to receive the award. He noted that people who have participated in monumental events, such as the World War II battle at Iwo Jima, have received the honor.

"I feel like the little things I do are out of respect for each and every one in this room. I'm just trying to pick up where they left off," Danfelt said.

Staff Sgt. Michael Rivas, who has worked in recent months with Danfelt at the Recruiting Substation in Martinsburg, said he is not surprised Danfelt received the honor.

"I could see him receiving numerous awards. He's an outstanding Marine," Rivas said.

A group of Danfelt's family and friends attended the dinner.

"I'm just as proud as can be," said Danfelt's father, retired Airman David Danfelt, 55, of Williamsport.

Danfelt's fiance, Melissa Shearer of Mount Airy, Md., flashed Danfelt a wink and said. "He deserves it. He's out there for ceremonies and Little League games carrying colors rain or shine. He loves what he does."

The Marine Corps League of Hagerstown - Bulldog Detachment - which has about 80 members, meets the first Tuesday of each month at Amvets Post 10 in Hagerstown. About 50 people gathered for the Christmas dinner and award ceremony. Retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Vic Ryan of Cumberland, Md., was the guest speaker.

Ryan told attendees, "You represent the best of the best. God bless you. God bless the United States Marine Corps. God bless this great country that we have."

The Herald-Mail Articles