"I think anyone who puts themselves in a position where they would lay down their lives for you is a legacy that demands not just respect, but remembrance." Natanya Levioff, the Operation Legacy service project leader out of Annapolis, says. "Not all of us can serve in this way, and so it is incumbent upon us, who are protected, to honor those who are willing to serve as our protectors.
Honoring and impacting lives is at the core of who Natanya is. As the voice of Naval Academy Wrestling, she was the first female to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame - Maryland Chapter for her lifetime of service to the sport. While her participation with this community started with athletics, it has now evolved into something much more. Her time spent with the Midshipmen has given her a renewed appreciation for their military commitment and the selfless service of military members across the country. With this community so close to her heart, she takes every opportunity to honor and carry on the legacy of all service members, particularly her fallen heroes.
For Natanya, there is no better way carry on the legacy of the fallen than to give back to her community of Annapolis. Inspired by the military community, she is leading and empowering veterans, survivors, and the next generation to come together and complete service projects. "I think it is so important for people to feel others care, especially those that find themselves in difficult circumstances," Natanya says. "Annapolis has issues just like any other city or town and the opportunity to impact someone’s life for the better in some way, no matter how small the act or brief the time, is incredibly rewarding." This year, Natanya will lead volunteers to collect canned fruits, vegetables, and soups for The Lighthouse Homeless Shelter. Those who come out to serve will also have the opportunity to create cards for wounded service members at Walter Reed National Medical Center, which will later be hand delivered to the patients.
Year after year, these projects are doing so much more than honoring the selfless service of military members, they are teaching the next generation what it means to live by the mantra "If Not Me, Then Who...". "I believe the more we develop the next generation of leaders to be ones who understand that service to others can take on many different forms, the better we equip them to tackle the issues of tomorrow. "