D'IBERVILLE -- A Seabee stationed at Gulfport's Naval Construction Battalion Center has received a top honor from the U.S. Navy.
Construction Mechanic 1st Class Michael Steffey has been named Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Sea Sailor of the Year. Steffey was honored with a reception Sunday at Heritage United Methodist Church in D'Iberville.
"When you become the No. 1 sailor in a command, let alone one of our groups, that's an enormous compliment to your hard work, dedication to the mission and commitment to your fellow sailors," said Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, NECC commander. "As military professionals it is up to us to do everything in our power to enable success."
Steffey said there are four classes for the sailors: Pacific fleet, Atlantic fleet, shore and reservist.
"I represent the Atlantic fleet," said Steffey, who his a member of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1. "It's a really big deal -- it's an honor for sure."
Before he could be named sailor of the year for his fleet, Steffey said he had to start at the command level.
"Everyone from each command goes in for four days of interviewing and evaluation," he said. "There are several commands involved. It's like a pyramid and you are slowly rising to the top."
He accepted the award in Virginia Beach and said the award was a "group effort."
"You don't get to this type of accomplishment without the help of your mentors, those who have worked hard for you and your family that has supported you all the way through," he said.
Steffey, 38, a Houston native, lives in Biloxi with his wife and two children.
He said he was surprised when he found out Heritage United Methodist Church was honoring him Sunday.
"This is where we attend church," he said. "I didn't know what they were going to do. It's an honor to be remembered by my church."