MILFORD, Mass. – A Massachusetts Guardsmen was presented with the 2010 YMCA Black Achievers Award at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass., Jan. 7, 2010.
Army Staff Sgt. Crosby A. Bennett, a finance specialist at the Joint Force Headquarters, Massachusetts Army National Guard was nominated for the award by his employer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to receive the award from the YMCA of Greater Boston.
The YMCA Black Achievers program was founded in 1971 at New York City's Harlem Y. Its purpose is to help young African-Americans to develop a positive sense of self and to set high education and career goals. Awardees are selected for having established a history of achievement in their field, demonstrated potential for further advancement and for commitment to voluntary service on behalf of young people.
African-American professionals who are selected for the award act as role models and volunteer leaders for either youth or teens in the YMCA Achievers program. The award is given in January because the recipients are asked to commit to a minimum of 40 hours of community service to benefit young people in the upcoming year.
The Director of the YMCA Achievers program for the YMCA of Greater Boston, Willie Sherman said, “The program works closely with businesses and sponsors like BIDMC to hold events that are focused on education and career development. Role models like Staff Sgt. Bennett accompany youth and teens to the events and pass on their experience and life lessons to inspire them to complete high school and hopefully move on to college.”
The chair of the MLK Black Achievers committee at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Jacquaetta Hester said, “Managers or directors nominate a person of color who exemplifies the goals of the YMCA Black Achievers program and Staff Sgt. Crosby Bennett fit the bill perfectly. We are honored and proud to have him as a BIDMC family member.”
Bennett began working for BIDMC as a temporary employee in the hospitals kitchen. Now he is the off shift supervisor in their Health Management/ Information Systems department. Bennett has since earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Anna Maria College and is taking his final two classes to complete a master’s degree. Bennett said, “Education is instrumental to being promoted in a corporate environment. My current position allows me the flexibility to achieve my educational goals. I also plan to pursue a doctoral degree but first I want to dedicate some time to volunteer in the community,” said Bennett.
Bennett emigrated from the Bahamas to Jamaica and after high school he moved to the United States. He joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard in 1998 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
Bennett served in Iraq in 2004 as a disbursing agent and managed a vault containing $15 million for the 747 Finance Detachment, Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Bennett is not the only Soldier in his family; his older brother is a Maj. in the Jamaican Army. “As a Soldier and a volunteer, I’m following in the footsteps of my brother as a leader, motivating others.”
The combined influences of education and service to the nation have served Bennett well in his military and civilian careers. Bennett said, “The Guard has helped me to pay for college, build character through service and taught me team building skills which help me to accomplish the goals and objectives of my employer.”
Bennett also volunteers through his church, the Men’s Ministry and has served as their treasurer and as a church board member.
Sharing his experience as a mentor of teens and young men and women Bennett said, “I think that young adults coming out of high school should look into joining the Army National Guard whether they plan on attending college or not. It provides them with an opportunity to serve their country and can give them a sense of honor, purpose and loyalty,” said Bennett.