ALUMNI AWARD WINNERS
Command Sergeant Major Stephen J. TraversThe truest measure of a hero is the respect shown by his peers and the humble manner by which he, himself, refuses the title. When learning of his selection for the Joseph P. Martin Distinguished Alumni Award and understanding those that have been selected before him, Stephen Travers simply replied: "I’m not sure I belong with that group of people. I am truly humbled." The fact that he was nominated by fellow North Attleboro High School Class of 1982 alum and career military veteran, and last year’s Martin Award winner, Colonel Maggie Dunn, speaks volumes.
Joseph W. Martin, Jr. Distinguished Alumni Award
In the fall of 1982, Steve Travers entered UMass, Amherst as an Engineering major. He completed his freshman year, returned the next fall, but dropped out after a few months. Following a series of construction jobs and lots of fun, he became "tired of going nowhere" and decided the Army would "quench [his] thirst for adventure, pay [his] previous student loans, and provide [him] with maturity and the means to continue [his] education." He joined the Army as an Infantryman in February 1986 with no intention of making it his career; twenty-eight years later, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies from Excelsior College and is a highly decorated Command Sergeant Major who has served in a number of challenging and rewarding positions.
Command Sergeant Major Travers has fond memories of growing up in North Attleboro, being part of Big Red Country, and experiencing "an incredibly proud tradition of sports and town pride [that] translate well to a lifetime of service to our great nation." From NAHS he learned the value of "integrity, hard work and dedication." He also acknowledges the impact some of his high school teachers and administrators had on the way he trains and leads soldiers. Mr. Beaupre, Mr. Grant, Mr. Ayotte, Miss Bedard, Dr. Faxon and Mr. Whitty "were gentle and kind most often, but tough and fair when appropriate. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of educators and leaders."
Throughout his career, Stephen has completed a variety of assignments and earned a number of impressive commendations. Among his duty assignments were A Company, 2nd of the 187th Infantry, Fort Clayton, Panama; C Company, and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st of the 22nd Infantry, Fort Drum, NY; Syracuse Recruiting Battalion, with duty in Rome, NY. Also, he served with the Office of the Inspector General, Fort Drum, NY; C Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st of the 87th Infantry, Fort Drum, NY; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd of the 22nd Infantry, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Mountain Division (LI), Fort Drum, NY; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd of the 22nd Infantry, Fort Drum, NY; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI); 10th Brigade Support Battalion, Fort Drum, NY; 1st of the 87th Infantry, Fort Drum, NY. Most recently, Travers has served as the Task Force CSM trainer on the Tarantula Team, Operations Group, NTC, Fort Irwin, CA. He is currently serving as the 20th Regimental Command Sergeant Major of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
His awards and decorations are as impressive as his duty assignments: Bronze Star Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters, "OLC"), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (6 OLC), Good Conduct Medal (8th award), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, United Nations Medal (Somalia), NATO Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge (2nd award), Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Gold Recruiter Badge, German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, numerous service ribbons and is a proud member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
Asked to identify his proudest accomplishment, Travers states: "This is tough. Besides raising my children, I will say every time I took a unit to combat. From being a young Platoon Sergeant in Somalia, leading in combat for the first time, to taking an entire Battalion filled with many combat veterans to Afghanistan, I have always been filled with pride at the commitment and courage displayed by our soldiers. Sharing hardship with our nation’s most willing has continued to inspire me and has kept me serving.
Although his career has taken him around the world, his sense of community and family run strong. Stephen’s parents and brother continue to live in town, and Travers and his wife, Kathi, between them have eight children and two grandchildren, with one more due in June. Travers’ oldest son, Stephen, Jr., is also in the Army, currently serving his sixth deployment to Afghanistan. The couple does plan for him to retire someday so they can travel to visit family, but they have yet to establish a firm timetable. He has even considered a second career in teaching.
For his exceptional service to our country, his lifelong commitment to learning, and the humble nature in which he conducts himself, the North Attleboro High School Alumni Association is honored to present the Joseph P. Martin Distinguished Alumni Award to Command Sergeant Major Stephen J. Travers (’82).
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