Mark Brown, the head of the U.S. Marine Corps’ installation emergency management program, was recognized on May 9, 2019 as part of Public Service Recognition Week with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Spirit of Service Award for his outstanding job performance and humanitarian work. Brown, who has worked at the Pentagon since 2011, has previously received recognition from government and private institutions for his innovative programs and initiatives.
“Mr. Brown has been a leading force in changing how the Marine Corps installations, and the force overall, approaches Emergency Preparedness,” wrote Maj. Gen. Vincent Coglianese, Commander, Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM), in Brown’s nomination letter.
Brown, who served in the U.S. Air Force before transitioning to emergency management for the state of North Carolina, worked to foster a culture of preparedness within the Marine Corps by developing and overseeing. Ready Marine Corps acts as the Service’s comprehensive emergency preparedness and outreach program. Brown recognized that Marines and their families face unique preparedness challenges, with moves taking them from the wildfire-ravaged West Coast to the hurricane-prone Southeast or even abroad.
“Regardless of the size, every disaster is significant to someone,” said Brown. “If one house burns down, it won’t make the news like a hurricane threatening the entire East Coast but it’s a disaster to that person, that family, and we need to do whatever we can to help them.”
Brown designed Ready Marine Corps to cater to crises of all sizes, with resources ranging from home evacuation plans to containment tips for nuclear emergencies. The program has been recognized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a premier Operational and Supporting Unit as well as the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Brown enjoys his work at the Pentagon and is equally as passionate about his service outside its walls. In the past year, he has travelled to rural Thailand and Guatemala as part of a medical mission trip. Following Hurricane Florence’s landfall last September, Brown returned to eastern North Carolina to help the same residents he served at the start of his career.
"While the work our team does here at the Pentagon is important on a global scale, the retired Marine Master Sergeant will remember the guys who helped gut his house after Hurricane Florence,” Brown said. “In 10 years, the Thai tribe will remember the medical and dental team that pulled teeth and treated diseases they didn’t have the resources to treat.”
Brown’s commitment to serving others is one he hopes to impart to his five children. This year, he and his family established the Zoe Freedom Center, a Christian rehabilitation facility set to open in Northern Virginia in the near future. Brown said he was struck by the opioid crisis in the U.S. and felt compelled to develop a local resource for those suffering with addiction.
“Opioid addiction is rampant right now,” said Brown. “Nearly everyone I talk to knows someone who is addicted or is affected by addiction.”
Working in emergency management, Brown often meets people on their worst days, whether they are rebuilding after a tornado or recovering from a house fire. For Brown, serving these people provides a service to him, saying: “making a difference in someone else’s life will make a difference in yours.”