LIVONIA, Mich. (WJBK) - Being recognized at the office for a job well done is always a special accomplishment. But when that office is the United States Navy - that's a little more special than usual.
Chief Select Mark Brown from Livonia, Mich. is a Navy man and a nurse - and now he's also been selected as the United States Reserve Sailor of the Year.
"Out of 8,500 First Class Petty Officers in the Navy Reserves, I was selected as the Reserve Sailor of the Year," says Brown.
The national pool of candidates started near 10,000 and was whitled down to five early last month. After being invited to a Washington, D.C. ceremony, Brown learned he had won.
"As soon as I heard my name I dropped my head, took a moment, composed myself and made sure to congratulate the other shipmates that were with me," he says.
Brown has a hard time saying he "won" the award, instead insisting he was "selected" for it.
"It's not something that's won, it's definitely something that's earned. It's definitley something that is a selection piece," he says.
Brown's superiors at his base in Selfridge, though, clued me in to how rare this is.
"We're very proud of him," says Lt. Cdr. Patrick Carraher, US Navy. "It's very very big. Most of us will never see something like this in our careers, especially to be associated with it so closely to have one of our people selected."
Only one other Michigan resident has ever been given the prestigious honor of Reserve Sailor of the Year. It wasn't until Brown received a Facebook message from one of his mentors that the historical significance really hit him.
"'Congratulations shipmate, you will forever be enshrined in naval military history.' When you read those words it really sets you back again, cause it's just, wow, such an honor," Brown says.
Already the father of a 10-year-old son, Brown and his wife are expecting a second due any day now.
"I hope they see that hard work does pay off, you know, 16 years of military service," he says. "I hope they look up to me and see that example as a positive role model and influence in their lives."
Chief Select Brown leaves for his pinning ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. After that, he will drop the "Select" from his title and just be refered to as Chief Petty Officer Mark Brown.