HAVELOCK, N.C. -- Master Sgt. Mark J. Francis and his family received the Havelock Military Family of the Quarter Award during a ceremony at El Cerro Grande Mexican Bar and Grill in Havelock, N.C., April 22, 2014.
The Havelock Military Affairs Committee, local sponsors and fellow military members attended the ceremony to express their appreciation for the Francis family and their service to local schools and organizations.
“We are very humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Mark. “We are usually behind the scenes doing things for people that are being honored, so this was very much unexpected.”
As supporters of the Havelock High School band program and extra-curricular activities, Mark and his wife, Colleen Francis, oversee approximately 200 students. The couple acts as chaperones and assist with equipment and help prepare uniforms for the students’ performances.
The family also volunteers their time with the Havelock High School swim team and volleyball team. In addition, they provide guidance and assistance to transitioning active duty service members.
As citizens of the community, the Francis family feels it is their responsibility to make sure they give back to their community.
“Together everybody achieves more,” said Mark. “As communal human beings, it is in our nature to give back.”
Besides being a father of three, a husband and active volunteer, Mark is also an intelligence analyst with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2.
As a leader of Marines, he takes pride in encouraging his Marines to volunteer within the community by both setting the example and providing them with volunteer opportunities.
“I provide as much opportunity as I can for my Marines to volunteer, and I make it very easy for them to contribute to the community,” said Mark. “It’s important that we set the example and we show them that volunteering is a very good thing to do.”
Despite being in the local community for less than a year, the family has already gained respect and been deemed active contributors to the community.
This is not Mark’s, or his family’s first time being recognized for volunteering.
In 2004, while stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Mark received the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for volunteer efforts conducted in Dam Neck, Va., and in 2010, the family was selected as the National Military Family Association’s Marine Corps Family of the Year while living in Okinawa, Japan.
“We hope that we can continue to serve our community,” said Mark. “We help our community by volunteering, and in return our family grows stronger and that is more than we can ever ask for.”