SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Sasebo Council of the Navy League of the United States earned the 2004 Meritorious Council Award that will be presented in June at the national convention, the organization has announced.

Sasebo Council President Jerry Havens learned of the honor Thursday in a letter from Jim Hoffman, senior director of membership.

“Your dedication to the men and women of the sea services is demonstrated throughout the many activities conducted by your council,” Hoffman wrote.

“It caught me a bit by surprise,” Havens said Friday. “Especially after just forming one year ago, but rest assured we’re all very grateful for the recognition.

“It’s a community effort, meaning the base and local Japanese communities together. Also, the community, being as small as Sasebo’s, creates an environment for a dynamic council,” he said.

The Sasebo Council, comprised entirely of American and Japanese civilian members, conducted numerous projects to benefit the Navy community, including:

Presenting the 2003 Sasebo Captain’s Cup team captain with a $2,500 ceremonial flag recognizing the team’s achievements.A Sailor of the Year Awards Banquet, recognizing 34 Sasebo-area command Senior and Junior Sailors of the Year, and Blue Jackets of the Year.A quarterly program to provide recognition to all area command Sailors of the Quarter.Presenting a $500 scholarship to a deserving NJROTC scholar in June. The council also presented eight NJROTC student recognition certificates to various cadets for significant accomplishments relating to their training.Collecting hundreds of magazines for the Sasebo’s Japanese Lion’s Club drive to collect English-language magazines for its Cambodian relief mission.Sponsoring and coordinating events for the Japan Little League Tournament, providing more than $1,000 in funding to buy trophies and pay for field maintenance. It will become an annual project, according to the organization.“We definitely fill a niche, especially with the forward-deployed naval forces operating from here,” Havens said.

The 2005 Navy League National Convention is scheduled to be held June 1-5 in Norfolk, Va. The honors ceremony takes place between 8 and 8:50 a.m. on June 3.

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