CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The distance between Ghana, Africa, to Chicago is approximately 5,800 miles as the bird flies.
For Petty Officer 2nd Class Henry Mensah, a religious program specialist with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, the journey from Ghana to Illinois is where it started.
Mensah was born in Ghana, a country located in West Africa. He made the trip to the United States in 2006, at the age of 20, to be reunited with his father who resided in the Windy City at the time and begin a new life in the land of the free.
Joining the military was something Mensah wanted to do once he arrived because he saw the unlimited opportunities it provides for its service members, and three years ago it became reality at 22 years old.
“Joining the Navy was the best decision I ever made,” said Mensah. “The fact that I came so far in my career in such a short period of time just makes it that much sweeter.”
Mensah recently received the Junior Sailor of the Quarter for his outstanding work ethic and commitment to his daily responsibilities.
To earn the award, sailors are nominated by their command to compete on a board where they answer questions and are given the opportunity to show why they deserve the award.
Mensah works hard every day because he’s never been handed anything, he says. Even though he was well deserving of the award, he was nevertheless humbled.
“It was an honor to win the award because I worked hard for it,” said Mensah. “It was a real boost in confidence for me to know I have the Junior Sailor of the Quarter award.”
Though it is an individual award, he is quick to give credit where credit is due.
“This isn’t something I could have done on my own,” explains Mensah. “I was pushed hard to be where I am. If it weren’t for the group of people I work with, none of this would have been possible.”
He is excited about the award, but this is just the beginning for the young sailor. Mensah is already working toward ensuring his future is filled with even more success.
“For the immediate future, I’m looking to move up in rank to [petty officer first class] and then try to become a recruiter,” he said. “Further along the road, I think becoming an officer would be my goal.”
As Mensah moves forward in life, he’s laid down the foundation for what seems to be a largely successful career and says he can’t wait for his next step.
“No one knows what will happen, but as long as the Lord blesses me, I know my future is in good hands,” said Mensah.