2011 Sailor of the Year
LCDR Michael FilesUnmarried; father was an Air Force staff sergeant
Over the past school year, he had memorized the Cub Scout Promise and mastered the Cub Scout Salute. Now all that stood between first-grader Myles Davis and the Bobcat badge was answering questions from his Cubmaster, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Files.
The Bobcat badge would be Myles’ first, and he was justifiably nervous. “Michael wouldn’t let him quit,” recalled Lt. Dwayne Jackson, a chaplain who occasionally helps Files with the Cub Scouts. “Mike kept on encouraging him ... saying, ‘Hey, you can do it, Myles.’
“He kept affirming Myles,” he continued, “and hey, Myles got it.” Later, in March, Files presented the badge to Myles and two other students before a school assembly. “When he received that badge, he was like ‘Wow, wow,’” Jackson said.
For the past school year, Files, 36, led an after-school Scout group at Randle Highlands Elementary School, a public school in a predominantly minority and underprivileged neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Many students came from single-parent homes and lacked male role models. Files, who has no children, saw the need and stepped up.
For For Files, a human resources professional for the chief of naval personnel and the 2011 Navy Times Sailor of the Year, volunteering is a calling, a chance to inspire kids and colleagues alike.
For “When I think about Michael,” said Roberta Felder, the after-school activities coordinator at Randle Highlands, “I think about him going above and beyond the call of duty with our students, just talking to the boys, teaching them life skills.”
For Files’ volunteering extends well beyond Scouting. He organizes mentoring and diversity awareness events in the Navy Annex where he works; manages an outreach program for his command at a nearby high school; and spearheads projects with other groups, like a care package drive by the United States Junior Chamber, commonly known as the Jaycees. He founded a scholarship foundation and serves as a human rights commissioner for the City of Alexandria, Va., where he lives.
For His ethic is “volunteer, volunteer, volunteer,” Jackson said. “When it comes to volunteering, he’s the total package.”
For Doing a good turn daily
For Files’ most extensive volunteering efforts are in Scouting. He grew up in Boy Scouts and views his pursuit of a naval career as an outgrowth of Scouting — namely from the process of attaining his favorite merit badge.
For “I can go back and say Boy Scouts and more specifically, the Citizenship in the World merit badge, built the foundation for me where I am today,” Files said in a June interview.
For Files graduated from the Naval Academy in 1998, earned a master’s degree in international relations and has lived around the world, including tours in Bahrain and Guam.
For “What I learned in the Boy Scouts is, do a good turn daily,” he said.
For Files has made it a habit over the past decade to volunteer at Cub Scout packs near where he’s been stationed. After Files moved to Washington in late 2008, he connected with Pack 1029 at Randle Highlands.
For Every Monday night during the school year, he led a group of roughly 20 first-, second- and third-graders.
For With the school year over, Files is organizing an overnight summer camp for some of his scouts in August, complete with archery and camping in tents — new experiences for most of the kids.
For In addition, Files is an assistant scoutmaster for another local troop and is a chapter adviser to an Order of the Arrow chapter in McLean, Va. He serves on the Boy Scout national committee and has helped raise money for Scouting groups in the Washington, D.C., area.
For Mentor and organizer
For Colleagues and friends say Files is known for finding openings for volunteers and recruiting for them tirelessly, all without taking much credit himself.
For “He can somehow get everybody involved for a cause and they don’t know that he got them involved,” said Chief Yeoman (SW) Antonio Franklin, a former recruit division commander.
For Files has organized a variety of events at the Navy Annex, including meetings of the African-American employee resource group, a bring-your-child-to-work day and a speed-mentoring session.
For “Everywhere I pretty much go as far as my involvement with diversity, I pretty much always see Lt. Cmdr. Files,” said Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist (SW/AW) Tonya Gray, who manages the Information Dominance Corps diversity program. “He’s always out on deck.”
For Files’ passion for volunteering benefits the command and the Navy, said his boss, Steffanie Easter, the assistant deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel, training and education. She nominated him for the Sailor of the Year award.
For “He serves as a very positive face for the Navy to those who may not be as familiar with us and what we stand for,” Easter said.
For Cmdr. Tim Wadley, the chief of staff for CNP, agreed wholeheartedly. “There’s nothing that he would not do for someone,” he said.