LTCOL MARY K. BROUSSARD RECEIVES 2009 RODNEY WILLIAMS, JR. MEMORIAL AWARD
Lexington, Kentucky, April 3, 2009: Presented annually at the Officer Selection Officer (OSO) Colonel William “Rich” Higgins Memorial Mess Night/Dining-In to an individual selected by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky (MCCCK) Board of Directors, who has demonstrated exemplary community leadership and commitment, with a long history of dedicated service to Marine Corps related activities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The presentation of a personalized engraved Marine Corps plaque was made by MajGen James L. Williams, USMC, Commanding General, 4th Marine Division and Col David J. Clement, USMCR, Deputy Chief of Staff, Marine Forces Europe and President, MCCCK.
LtCol Mary K. Broussard, USMCR (Ret) embodies the qualities of leadership, commitment, and support of the Marine Corps community in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She has been an active member of the Marine Corps Community in Louisville since 1980. Following active duty service (1972 – 1975), she remained connected with the Marine Corps through various Marine Corps Reserve components, such as Volunteer Training Units (VTU), Mobilization Training Units (MTU), Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR) units, and Joint Service capacities. Since relocating to Kentucky in 1980, she has served with an MTU in support of the Marine Corps Recruiting Station Louisville and with a Joint Service component tasked with recruiting and training Selective Service Board members for almost seven (7) years, earning the Selective Service Commendation Medal. She also served in a Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR) unit at Camp Lejeune, NC, traveling from Kentucky to that location monthly for several years. Since her retirement from the Marine Corps Reserve, she has been actively involved with the Kentuckiana Detachment of the Marine Corps League (MCL), through which she volunteered to assume the duties of Coordinator for its “Toys for Tots” campaign within the Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana region. During the past eleven (11) years there has been steady growth under her leadership. In 2007, she was recognized by the national “Toys for Tots” program as “Coordinator of the Year” for the Region 2. During 2008, nearly $100,000 was raised to provide 75,000 toys to 19,000 underprivileged children during the Christmas season. Her organizational skills and customer service attitude have been directly instrumental in the establishment of records for “Toys for Tots” collection efforts in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Upon learning that the Women Marines Association (WMA) was bringing its biennial national convention to Louisville in 2006, she saw an opportunity to showcase our famous Kentucky hospitality. Seizing the opportunity, she organized and chartered a new chapter of the Women Marines Association, a first for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and volunteered to serve on the convention planning committee. She diligently recruited, organized and deployed her chapter members, as well as local MCL members, in support of this convention, providing hospitable support and assistance to over 400 former and current Women Marines during their memorable visit to Kentucky.
Since its inception in 1999, she has served on the Patriots Peace Memorial Committee, which has been responsible for the design, fund-raising, and construction of this Louisville, Kentucky monument, recognizing the sacrifices of military personnel, who have lost their lives in the line of duty, but not as a result of combat or during declared hostilities. She continues to serve on the enshrinement committee of the Patriots Peace Memorial, processing nominees and interacting with bereaved families. Her ability to effectively process and adjudicate multiple nominations, with compassion and efficiency has been truly admirable.
She has also served, with Rodney Williams, Jr., the namesake of this award and others, on the Commissioning Committee of the USS Higgins, a Navy destroyer, which was launched in 1999 to “put the world on notice that those who threaten America’s interests or dare to terrorize its citizens will face Colonel Rich Higgins and the 8,300 tons of pure American steel that now surround his spirit,” and has played a significant role in the interdiction of enemy weapons and supplies in support of ongoing operations in the Middle East.
Throughout her professional life, she has served others. Fully utilizing her Marine Corps leadership skills, she has prepared under privileged children and adults for General Education Development (GED) testing and worked for several years as a Legislative Aide to the 8th Ward Alderman of the City of Louisville, where she served as an ombudsman for 25,000 citizens. She has also served eight (8) years as the Membership Coordinator for the Louisville Zoo, increasing membership from 5,000 to 15,000, resulting in its first $1,000,000 gross revenue year. In all that she has undertaken, she has been routinely recognized for her exemplary customer service skills. She has also received several awards from the Louisville community recognizing her devotion to the Salvation Army, Girls and Boys Club, and Safe Place.
During 2002, she was named “Marine of the Year” by the Marine Corps League, Kentuckiana Detachment. The following year, she was nationally recognized by the “Chapel of the Four Chaplains” with its prestigious Legion of Honor Award, for her giving spirit, unconditional service to her community, nation and humanity, without regard to race, religion or creed, exemplified so dramatically by the four Army chaplains aboard the sinking troop transport USS Dorchester in 1943, who comforted and assisted hundred of soldiers following a torpedo attack, and in a final act of compassion and service, gave up their own life jackets so others could live. Wherever she has worked, she has brought contagious enthusiasm for her cause while representing the Marine Corps family in Kentucky with dignity, compassion and commitment.