MILFORD, Mass. – In 1990 President George H. W. Bush made May Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. At this moment, Asian Pacific Islanders make up about four percent of the active and reserve components of the Army. The National Guard has a two percent population of Asian Pacific Islanders and of that two percent, one Asian Pacific Soldier from the Massachusetts Army National Guard was federally recognized for her commitment to the National Guard, as wells as, the community.
Staff Sgt. Jersouk Touy-Myers, a squad leader in the 972 Military Police Company, was awarded the Federal Asian Pacific American Council award, May 12 in Bellevue, Washington.
The 211th Military Police Battalion, nominated Touy-Myers for the 2011 FAPAC award, said Maj. Tonia Costa, AO, 211th MP Bn. the applicants were competing nationally. Touy-Myer's packet was picked and she was informed that she was the military award recipient for the Army National Guard. The event entitles, The U.S. Department of Defense Military Awards Luncheon was celebrated in conjunction with The FAPAC 26th Annual National Leadership Training Conference.
“Having a program to give this award is an awesome thing,” said Touy-Myers. “Bringing light and recognition to diversity, this one is based in the Asian community and it brings light to a different group.”
“With the Asian Community in the military, the enlistment rates are the lowest in the military, so having the FAPAC, an organization that promotes that there is an Asian community in the military and that we do support one another is important,” said Touy-Myers.
Soldiers are nominated for the award based not only on their heritage as an Asian-Pacific soldier, but also on their merit and their commitment to the community.
“I care about what’s going on”, said Touy-Myers.
Touy-Myers is a squad leader, a SARC, and an advocate against human trafficking. She is currently working with Sgt. 1st Class Felicia A. Pinckney on a program called Princess and Dolls, with hopes to contribute to the fight against human trafficking in New England.
Furthermore, Touy-Myers worked as a recruiter impacting the lives of the Soldiers she met and helped to reach their goal of getting into the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
There was one Soldier who she’s very proud of because of what he accomplished with her guidance, said Touy-Myers. He came from a broken home and had difficulties when he first tried to enlist, but she stuck with him. She pushed him to pass his ASVAB and eventually attain his GED. He is much happier now and in a good place.
Additionally, the award itself motivates individuals, said Touy-Myers.
“It’s important because there is a lot of individuals besides myself, I just happened to be selected,” said Touy-Myers. “There are a lot of other people who do such a great job. They care about the people and the communities around them as well as their brothers and sisters in the military. They are multi-facetted.”
"When I received the FAPAC award I felt like I was going in the right direction,” said Touy. "That my hard work will, and has paid off. It makes me want to push for more. It was awesome to be recognized on a national level, but it leaves me hungry for more."
Touy-Myer’s next focus is to pay homage to many Asian-Americans who, especially during Vietnam, helped the Army in many ways. Her father was recruited to help the Army during the conflict, but afterword received no recognition. She hopes to change that.