CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, UNITED STATES --
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC. — “I honestly just want to change people's lives and let them know that no matter where they come from, they have the potential to do great things,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, a Dos Palos, California native, and distribution management specialist, previously with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, was awarded the 2022 GEICO Service Member of the Year Award in recognition of the impacts that he has made in the community throughout his Marine Corps career.
One of Gonzalez’s first major impacts on his community was in 2017 when he contributed to the creation of an anti-bullying campaign in Los Angeles, California while on recruiting duty.
“I met with a couple of schools that I was a recruiter for and bullying seemed to be a big problem,” said Gonzalez, “we created an outlet for kids to be able to have a voice to talk to somebody about their problems. [We would] coach, guide, and mentor them about what they should do in order to get away from the bully, identify the bully, and then stop being bullied overall.”
Following recruiting duty, Gonzalez was assigned to 1st Supply Battalion, Camp Pendleton, where he continued to make a positive impact on his community and was awarded the 2019 Camp Pendleton Volunteer of the Year Award.
“I had a rough upbringing, but I was lucky enough to be surrounded by individuals who saw that I was going down a bad path and actually took the time to mentor, guide, coach and inspire me and pull me back on the right track,” said Gonzalez, “so I brought that to the Marine Corps with me.”
Outside of normal volunteering at local events, Gonzalez also volunteered to speak with kids who weren’t as lucky as he was.
“I spent time at juvenile detention centers talking to kids who have been in trouble,” said Gonzalez, “It means a lot to just be able to talk to them and be a listening ear, to share my story and my background, and show that there are opportunities for anyone as long as you try.”
While at 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Gonzalez was nominated for 2022 Service Member of the Year by his Officer In Charge, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Lee.
“The criteria for this award submission was based on noteworthy accomplishments or recent individual contributions in on-duty leadership and off-duty community involvement,” said Lee, “When reviewing his achievements and contributions for the good of both civilian and military communities, it was evident he was deserving of recognition.”
Master Sgt Gonzalez’s off-duty achievements included hundreds of hours volunteering to coach and mentor a wide range of his community’s youth, including first-time college students and children of military members.
“Being able to mentor college students and give tips on preparation, time management, and how to pass classes was amazing,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez’s advice to other Marines that want to be competitive for awards and recognition is to be outgoing, determined, and to never stop volunteering, whether that's for deployments or for opportunities to help the community.
“You just need to be a good performer all around,” said Gonzalez. “You need to know your job, do well at your job, and make an impact in the community.”
Now stationed at Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations-East, Gonzalez is looking forward to continuing to make a positive impact on the community and mentor his Marines.