NCOA, community caome together to celebrate new 'Mack' McKinney Award recipients

11 Feb 2011 | Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

The Noncommissioned Officer Association honored Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), and retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Clifford ‘Scoop’ Davis during the 19th annual “Mack” McKinney Awards, held at Sywanyks Scarlet & Gold Traditions in Jacksonville, Feb. 11.

The award was named after retired Marine Sgt. Maj. C.A. “Mack” McKinney, who was the NCOA’s first lobbyist, and honors military veterans who have demonstrated professionalism, dedication and service to the nation and its military over the years.

Jones was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995, and has since then been involved in many efforts to help veterans and active-duty troops alike. While maintaining representation for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Onslow County, he helped make amendments to the Defense Authorization Act that assisted troops suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Jones is currently the chairman of the Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus for the House. Jason Lowry, military and veterans liaison for Jones accepted the award on his behalf.

Davis is the executive director of the NCOA, and has since discovered ways to save the organization thousands of dollars every year. Other accomplishments include solidifying relationships with, USAA, Landry’s, American Airlines and other corporations interested in serving troops and veterans.

Retired Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Harold Overstreet, president of the NCOA, accepted the award on Davis’s behalf.

Overstreet said the McKinney Award is one of the highest awards that the NCOA gives, and got its name from an individual who gave so much for service members.

“(McKinney) also participated in three major wars: World War II, Korea and Vietnam,” said Overstreet. “He was always a Marine (even after he retired) and if he were to speak to Congress and tell them to get a haircut and shine their shoes, they knew they needed to. So when he told them that we needed benefits and better wages and better care for families, they realized that too. He was always on point, on time and on target with everything he had to say.”

 John Reed, chief executive officer and executive director of Mainstreet, said the award named after his mentor was established in 1992.

“We established this award in recognition of him and all he has done for the enlisted and officer community,” said Reed. “It didn’t matter what branch of service you were in and he was a great guy. If he could’ve gotten out of his deathbed tonight to help somebody, he would.”

Reed added that the first time the award was presented was in 1993, and McKinney was asked to attend the ceremony. He attended most of the ceremonies until his death a few years ago.

“We were standing in the reception area and he asked, ‘John, when are you going to tell what this award is about?’” said Reed. “He didn’t even know until he got onto the podium that it was the “Mack” McKinney award. Professionalism, dedication, commitment ... but he didn’t know that.”