'Always give back' Young Marine leader given Jefferson Award

Lowman has been working with the Young Marines since 1985 and he started the local Albany chapter in 1997. / Tracey Smith

FOX 31 is recognizing our community's unsung heroes with the Jefferson Awards, the nation's most prestigious award for service.

Meet Nathanial Lowman, our July Recipient.

Growing up as one of 12 children, Nathaniel Lowman said as a kid he was the one in need of a little steering.

"I'm the only son that's not incarcerated and so somebody that helped me asked me to never forget where you came from and always give back," said Lowman. "Ever since then that's been my passion."

Lowman has been working with the Young Marines since 1985 and he started the local Albany chapter in 1997.

"The purpose of the Young Marines is to prep today's youth and develop them to be great leaders."

The Young Marines work with children ages 8-18, giving them the discipline of the military, but the guidance to be successful in any career path.

"We let them know that everything is out there," said Lowman. "You have to make a decision on what you want to do, as long as it's positive."

15-year-old Amauri Dukes has been a member of the Young Marines since she was eight and said she can only imagine where she would be without this program.

"I think I would really be somewhere I wouldn't want to be right now," said Dukes.

In fact, she said this program changed her life.

"I thank God because I really do need this program," said Dukes. "I did need it and I did get in, so I'm glad that I did do it."

Lowman says he wants this program to help families and help kids stay on the straight and narrow path and thinks this is one of the better options out there for kids.

"The gangs yell at them and let everybody else get them," said Lowman. "Why not come to a positive organization?"

With the goal to keep them out of trouble and keep them in school.

"Whatever it is to keep the children in school, that's what this program is about. Education is number one," said Lowman.

It all goes back to why he got involved in the first place.

"You give back to those who can't give back to themselves," said Lowman.

Lowman said he loves watching the kids grow up through the program

"That's the driving force, seeing the finishing result of what you put into a child."

If you would like to nominate someone you know who is an outstanding volunteer for a Jefferson Award, fill out a nomination form here.

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