By MC2 Brianna Jones
Naval Academy Midshipman 1st Class Megan Rosenberger, chief of staff for the Midshipman Action Group (MAG), received the 2017 Drum Major Award for her distinguished service at the 29th Annual Anne Arundel County Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner Jan. 13.
Rosenberger is the first midshipman to receive this prestigious award as well as the youngest recipient in Anne Arundel County.
Founded in 1988, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee was designed to honor Dr. King’s legacy in Anne Arundel County. The MLK Drum Major Award is a way to celebrate those who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment but seldom receive recognition.
The award was inspired by King’s famous sermon about the drum major instinct. According to King, people with this trait desire to be out front, leading others.
King asked to be remembered as one who tried to live his life serving others. He implored his congregation to remember his attempts to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort prisoners.
‘‘Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice,’’ said King in a 1968 sermon. ‘‘Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."
Through MAG, Rosenberger has been involved in numerous outreach projects for Annapolis and surrounding communities including the Harvest for the Hungry food drive, the Arbor Day Park Clean-up, 9/11 Day of Service, Toys for Tots, Linda’s Legacy, Asbury Methodist Church Food Pantry, Saint Luke’s Church Clean-up, and Special Olympics.
“To me, Harvest for the Hungry was the most memorable and the most inspiring event of 2016 because of the amount of midshipmen that got on board and wanted to help,” said Rosenberger. “I was honored to be there and just watch all of it happen.”
Rosenberger has been a member of the Harvest for the Hungry team all four years she has been at USNA and has overseen the collection efforts the past two years as project manager. Since she became involved with the program in 2013, USNA has collected more than 250,000 pounds of food for the Anne Arundel Food and Resource Bank. This past fall, Megan and her team collected a record-breaking 80,000 pounds of food for Harvest for the Hungry.
Even with a rigorous course load and the military demands of being a midshipman, Rosenberger has always made giving back to the community a priority. Growing up, her grandfather was involved in his local community in any way he could be, which instilled a sense of service in Rosenberger from a young age.
“Growing up and seeing him be so selfless brought about a culture of service in our family,” said Rosenberger. “To come to the Naval Academy and continue different service projects and get involved in MAG just seemed right, because my family always made that a priority.”
“From her very first days at the Naval Academy, Megan has been caring for our greater Annapolis communities by tirelessly doing for others and by building hope with every step of her impactful community engagements,” said Miriam Stanicic, USNA community relations director and former recipient of the MLK Drum Major Award. “We could not be prouder of her resounding leadership.”
Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others.”
For Rosenberger, the answer to this question is impacting and encouraging peer leadership, teamwork and goodwill towards others through her tireless devotion to her local community.