FORT MEYER, Va. -- FORT MEYER, VA - For 13 years the insurance company GEICO has been recognizing noncommissioned and petty officers at the Military Service Awards Program for devotion to their service and local civilian community.
This year, Gunnery Sgt. Steven Shaheen, safety chief, Marine Corps Ground Combat Safety Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., was among the six award recipients honored at the Spates Community Club here April 23.
Shaheen was selected for his work in traffic safety and accident prevention both on base and after hours as a neighborhood volunteer.
According to Tony Nicely, GEICO president and corporate executive officer, the program recognizes one representative from each military service, including the Army and Air National Guards, for their tremendous leadership and devoted service to both their military and local civilian community.
Although each service has their own unique nomination and selection process, they all pick members who, through their work in traffic safety and accident prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, and fire safety and fire prevention have brought credit to themselves and their branch of service.
"We really work hard at Twentynine Palms because 80 percent of the Corps' live fire happens there and creates an incredible potential for an accident to happen," said Shaheen, who's uniquely qualified for his position as safety chief.
"In order for a staff NCO to fill my billet, they must have at least a bachelor's degree in environmental health or management," Shaheen explained.
Shaheen was the only staff NCO, Corps-wide, who already had his bachelor's degree in environmental health when the safety chief position became available. He was hand selected by Headquarters Marine Corps to administer all aspects of his command's safety programs because of this.
In addition to his work on base, Shaheen also extends his knowledge to his local community as a safety educator, spending many of his off-duty hours involved in local programs such as "Don't Drink and Drive," fire safety and prevention, and poison prevention and information.
"With the ever-present challenge of deployments and family separations the military faces today, the honorees accomplishments are even more impressive," said Nicely.
"It's always good to get accolades from your peers and seniors," Shaheen said, "but to have an outside agency recognize what you do, it feels really good."