SAN DIEGO, Aug. 03, 2007
NRI Gaurav R. Patel, Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class has
selected to be the Navy's recipient of the prestigious American
Legion Spirit of Service Award. He will accept his award during
the American Legion's national conference to be held Aug. 24-30
in Reno, Nevada.
Fred Cleveland, Commanding Officer of Fleet Readiness Center
Southwest (FRCSW) nominated Patel for the award, which honors
one member from each of the services who exemplifies the spirit
- His contributions to his country, Navy and community are just
awesome and reflect greatly on his honor, courage and commitment.
He is a well-deserving warrior who represents the best of what
the Navy and America have to offer.
- He tirelessly devotes his time to improving the Navy, his
career and community
- Patel continues to volunteer weekly at the Armed Services
YMCA (ASYMCA). Since transferring from Helicopter Combat Support
Squadron 11 to Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department
in September 2004, he has logged more than 500 hours volunteering
for eight different agencies serving San Diego communities--
including the Special Olympics, the Malcolm X Library, Habitat
for Humanity, the Polinsky Children’s Center, and Welcome
Home, an ASYMCA event for families of deployed Sailors and Marines.
- I volunteer every other day. I tutor kids a majority of my
time. We go to the Polinsky Center. It’s similar to a
foster house where kids from infants to 18-year-olds, [who]
end up [here] because they’ve been in trouble or their
parents are into drugs or other things. Our goal is to go there
and guide them so that when they get out, they don’t go
back to the environment they came from.
- I love talking to kids and helping people. It seems like I’m
doing a lot, but it’s actually doing a lot for me. I get
a lot in return by doing all of this,” he said.
- Though committed to higher education and serving the San Diego
community, Patel said his priority is the Navy.
- My goal is to make it into an officer program. I love what
I do, and I have everything with the Navy; so I hold myself
to its highest standards
Patel was born and raised in India, came to the United States
in 1996, joined the Navy in 2000 and became a citizen in 2003.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Professional Aerodynamics
from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in October 2006. He
is also studing to complete one of two master’s degrees
in early 2008
Oriris, his wife of nearly four years, is also in the US Navy
and currently attending recruit training at Naval Recruit Training