Wetumpka Man Named "Marine of the Year"

By Sally Pitts - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There are 38,000 active Marines, but only one holds the title of "Marine of the Year", and he lives in Alabama.

Thursday Governor Bob Riley held a special ceremony to honor the Marine, presenting Sgt. Peyton Williams with a proclamation.

Riley told Williams he made the state and nation a better place for everyone. "It's just an honor," said Sgt. Williams.

This is Williams' second ceremony. The Top Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, first recognized Williams for his service. His family couldn't be prouder. His Grandfather Bill Davis told WSFA 12 News, "We love our country and we are proud of him."

The 22-year-old Wetumpka native joined the Marines after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "I felt compelled to serve my country," he said.

Williams' service took him to at least twenty countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Now, he just wants to sit at home and relax for a while. "Maybe start college in January and see what kind of career I can do after that," he said.

Williams says he's considering pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.

His service with the Marines ends September 26th, though he still has four years of inactive service.

Williams was also deployed to Mississippi and Louisiana to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.