Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook receives ‘Very Important Patriot’ award

By Samantha L. Quigley, American Forces Press Service

Five recipients of the 2005 Very Important Patriot Award from the military community will be appearing on commissary cereal shelves worldwide this summer.

Special-edition boxes of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, bearing the award winners' likenesses, began shipping in May and will be available through the summer or while supplies last, Michelle Joyner, spokeswoman for the National Military Family Association, said. They will be available only in military commissaries.

The association is a member of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which showcases Americans' efforts to support service members and their families, and runs the award program.

Marine Sgt. Clinton (Casey) Firstbrook, a 2001 New Prague High School graduate, is one of the recipients of the award. He is the son of The Rev. Clinton and Jaine Firstbrook of Jeffers. Pastor Firstbrook is the former pastor at Heritage United Methodist Church in New Prague.

The Very Important Patriot Award recognizes volunteers whose service contributes to improving the quality of life in their military or neighboring communities, according to the NFMA's Web site. The 2005 winners included the spouses of an Army National Guardsman and an Air Force member, two active duty Marines and the son of a retired Air Force officer, Joyner said.

Firstbrook has volunteered as long as he's served in the Corps. While stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, he worked with local orphanages, the Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots program, the Cub and Boy Scouts, as well as the Marine Corps Community Services. His volunteerism continued upon his return to the United States, where he worked to make other Marines aware of volunteer opportunities with stories published in his base newspaper, the Henderson Hall News.

Firstbrook is assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Division of Public Affairs, Marine Corps News, and is an editor for Marines Magazine.

Others on the box are Michele Canchola, wife of a South Carolina Army National Guard spouse, who helped create a consolidated family readiness group; Robert Davison, husband of a U.S. Air Force member, who served as an officer of the 375th Medical Group Booster group and the key spouse for the 375th Medical Support Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, IL; Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Caraway, who volunteered with the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Horse Back Riding Program, taught skating and served as a guard at Wakefield Skate Park; and Chris Zaehringer, son of a retired Air Force officer, who was nominated for his work with the Mountain Home Air Force Base Child and Youth Services Program in Idaho.

Each recipient received $1,000 prizes and a trip for two to Washington for the awards presentation held in November. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald Murray delivered the keynote address at the awards dinner.

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