US Navy medal awarded to volunteer who helps to house University of Aberdeen students

A woman who has enabled more than 80 students from the University of Aberdeen to stay in America while they complete a work experience programme has been honoured by the US Navy.

Carol Crawford, whose own son graduated from the institution, works tirelessly as a volunteer, matching the history students with host families to enable them to take up work placements at the Naval History and Heritage Command (formerly Naval Historical Center), Washington D.C.

She received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award on Tuesday (October 27). It is given to civilian employees, or volunteers, in the Department of the Navy for meritorious service for contributions resulting in high value or benefits for the Navy or the Marine Corps.

The award is the third highest Navy civilian award.

Since March 2003, Ms Crawford has organised free room and board for 81 students from the University of Aberdeen.

This has enabled them to provide at least 7,776 hours of work to the Naval History & Heritage Command and gain valuable work experience.

Not only did Ms Crawford recruit host families in the DC metropolitan area, she also produced guidelines for the hosts and students, and arranged the airport transfer for the students. 

Her efforts have ensured that students from Aberdeen, who may have been prevented from taking up a place on the scheme due to financial constraints, have benefitted from the experience.

Dr Jackson Armstrong, Lecturer in History, University of Aberdeen, said: “We are very grateful for the work of Carol Crawford and the network of enthusiastic volunteers she has coordinated.

“Her efforts have enhanced the experience of all students on the Washington placement programme, undertaken by many students as part of the fourth-year General Historical Problems course.

“She has greatly reduced the financial burden on students, enabling many more to take up this great opportunity.”