DVIDS – News – Naval Submarine School Sailor Recognized for Outstanding Community Service


GROTON, Conn. – Underwater Sonar Technician 1st Class Gyro Mejia was awarded the Military Medal for Outstanding Volunteer Service by Capt. Eric M. Sager, Commandant of the Naval Submarine School (NSS) during a ceremony aboard Naval Submarine Base New London Friday, March 11, 2022.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Mejia has served at the Naval Submarine School since 2019. He served as Sonar School ‘A’ Chief Chief Petty Officer (LCPO), and also Sonar School ‘A’ Instructor. Mejia also served as the primary Victim Advocate for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) at the Naval Submarine School, where he provided countless hours of dedicated support to NSS Sailors.

Mejia was awarded the Volunteer Outstanding Military Service Medal in recognition of his outstanding public service to the communities of Groton and greater Connecticut. Completing 170 hours of community service between 2019 and 2022, Mejia’s service went far beyond what is expected of a sailor.

Mejia has supported various organizations including: Bells Across America, Fairview Retirement Community, United Service Organizations (USO), SUBVETS, Norwich Free Academy, Fitch High School, Navy & Marine Corps Relief Society, Connecticut Lions Club and the Navy Morale, well-being and recreation.

Mejia has also provided services to six local town halls throughout the state of Connecticut.

“Mejia’s selfless involvement in the local community and his mentorship are admirable and worthy of the award of the Military Distinguished Service Medal,” Sager said.

Mejia was grateful for the award and said that despite spending countless hours serving others, even when coupled with his day-to-day work responsibilities, volunteering never felt like work.

“Being in the Navy, we are always busy. So I’m never too busy to give back to the community,” Mejia said.

Mejia had no volunteer experience before joining the navy and was inspired by his service in the submarine force to give back to the community at large. Some of the projects completed during his community service included building a jungle gymnasium in a local park, as well as sprucing up the base.

Mejia enjoyed mentoring junior sailors on the value of giving back to the community and connecting with veterans and other service groups.

“I really felt the community when I worked with SUBVETS in particular, and being able to honor those who served before us was very rewarding,” Mejia said.

While he found all of his volunteer experiences fulfilling, Mejia said the most solemn and rewarding experiences were rendering military funeral honors to fallen service members and their families.

He recalled one occasion in particular that struck him as the most poignant – paying tribute to the family of Electronics Technician 2nd Class Dustin L. Donyon, of Suffield, Conn. Donyon died in 2017 following the fatal collision of USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

“Being able to honor our nation’s heroes like ET2 Donyon has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had,” Mejia said. “In the Navy, we are all family, and I felt a responsibility to provide this support to his family at such a tragic time.”

Sager noted that Mejia’s service served as an inspiration to other sailors.
“STS1 Mejia’s countless hours of support provided to community organizations throughout the state of Connecticut exemplify the centuries-old tradition of service within the underwater community,” said Sager.

“By devoting his time to helping others, Mejia is proof that the service of our sailors extends beyond the confines of our base. Our sailors produce lasting impacts in our local communities every day, and I hope others will follow in the selfless footsteps of STS1 Mejia.

Prior to his assignment to the NSS, Mejia served aboard USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23). He has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Excellence three times and was previously named a Naval Submarine School Quarter Sailor and Quarter Junior Instructor.

The Military Medal for Exceptional Volunteer Service is awarded to members of the United States Army who perform outstanding volunteer community service. The service must be rendered to the civilian community, including the military family community; be meaningful in nature and produce tangible results; reflect favorably on military service; and be supported and direct.

Date taken: 03.11.2022
Date posted: 03.11.2022 07:17
Story ID: 416243
Location: GROTON, CT, USA

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