2008 marine Times
Honorable Mentions

Staff Sgt. Lonnie Parker

School of Infantry - East, Camp Lejeun

Staff Sgt. Lonnie Parker "exemplifies the concept of service before self," writes a Marine major at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

An instructor at the base's School of Infantry-East, Parker is known as a tough but fair teacher who makes sure his students master the skills they need to succeed in the Corps.

He is also a single parent and a dedicated volunteer, working for free with a youth wrestling program and a nearby Boy Scout troop.

Staff Sgt. "Parker travels the entire state of North Carolina selflessly coaching young men in wrestling," wrote one Marine officer. He acts not only as a coach, but as a positive role model for many young men who don't have fathers, because of military service or other reasons."

Gunnery Sgt Abiud Montes

Detachment 4, TOW Scout Platoon 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division

Trouble always seems to find Gunnery Sgt. Abiud Montes, and trouble always seems to lose.

The two-time combat veteran earned a free flight from American Airlines by providing emergency medical care to a passenger during a May 31 cross-country flight.

On vacation, the 19-year reservist saved two relatives from drowning off the coast of Puerto Rico.

And when an elevator he and other potential jurors were riding in became stuck at a South Florida courthouse in 2007, Montes helped everyone escape, receiving praise from a judge.

Such examples highlight the grace under fire demonstrated by Montes, a paramedic in the civilian world.

"When we are on the scene, and someone's life is on the line, he's always focused and comes through on his end," said Simon Serrao, Montes' partner at the Hollywood (Fla.) Fire Department.