MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO
For many service members, the military is a way to serve their country and give back to their community, but for some, putting on a uniform and doing their job is not enough; they choose to volunteer additional personal time to make an impact in the lives around them.
Lt. Col. Evan Gordon, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves who served 13 years on active-duty, works as associate counsel at the Quantico Area Counsel Office and is the reserve judge advocate for Marine Corps Base Quantico-Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region.
When not working, he can be found volunteering his time as a coach for his kids’ sports teams. Gordon began coaching in the spring of 2015, while stationed in Eugene, Oregon. He valued his position as a coach because it was an opportunity to participate in the lives of his children.
“I played a lot of youth sports, and the coaches that I had, when I was a kid… I still remember them to this day. They were important people in my life,” said Gordon. “So I wanted to be that for my kids.”
Gordon’s children play several sports throughout the school year, including soccer, baseball and basketball. Gordon has coached multiple teams at Eugene, Camp Lejeune, and Quantico.
The Bronze President's Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is awarded to those who volunteer a minimum of 100 hours in one calendar year. According to the certifying organization AmeriCorps, the PVSA honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to act.
Since 2016, Gordon has earned several consecutive bronze awards, and he recently received his fourth and fifth.
According to Paul Strickland, the head of the Marine Corps Community Services Camp Lejeune-New River Youth Sports Program, “[Gordon was] as reliable as the sunrise… he was always consistent.” Strickland stated that if he ever needed a coach, Gordon was there.
“There’s something to be gained for your community by volunteering,” said Gordon. “Every Marine joined the Corps out of at least some sense of civic obligation. So volunteering in your community is a natural progression.”
Gordon advises young Marines to use their time to volunteer.
“Local youth sports programs, to include MCCS, are always in desperate need of coaches,” says Gordon. “You don’t have to be a parent to coach a youth team. There are teams of kids out there without coaches that are looking for someone just like a young Marine who can commit a few hours a week to letting them play sports.”
Gordon mentioned the competitive nature of Marines and the benefit that earning an award can provide for a young Marine.
“You have the ability to do something that not only helps your community, but at the end of the day, may help you, and may help your career,” Gordon said. “Whatever your motivations are, it’s good. Get out and volunteer.”