Negrense chaplain receives US Presidential award

Negrense Don Biadog Jr. (center) receiving his award from Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commanding general of Third Marine Aircraft Wing, and Lt. Col. Robert J. Weingart.*

US President Joseph Biden Jr. awarded a Lifetime Achievement award to Negrense Don Biadog Jr., a retired Navy chaplain, for his “lifetime commitment to volunteer service”.

The award was presented to Biadog by Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commanding general of Third Marine Aircraft Wing, and Lt. Col. Robert J. Weingart, executive officer of headquarters and headquarters squadron at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, in San Diego, California in April.

“On behalf of the American people, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to you for your volunteer leadership, and I encourage you to continue to answer the call to serve. The country is counting on you” Biden said in his citation. “We are living in a moment that calls for hope and light and love. Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another. Through your service, you are providing all three,” Biden added.

The award requirements include 4,000 documented hours in voluntarism over the recipient’s lifetime. Biadog racked up 13,000 hours between 1990 and 2023.

“Chaplain Don has a passion to serve,” retired U.S. Army Chaplain Major James F. Linzey, chief of chaplains for the U.S. National Defense Corps, told The Baptist Paper.

“He’s following the example of Jesus Who said in Matthew 5:16, ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven’”, Linzey said

Biadog has volunteer accomplishments spanning multiple nations and types of assistance, The Baptist Paper reported.

The Baptist Paper said when Biadog was stationed in Okinawa during three tours of duty from 1997–2000 and 2003–07, Biadog led Marines and sailors in multiple community relations projects on weekends in Okinawa, and on the mainland of Japan and in South Korea. He led them in collecting and sharing humanitarian supplies with schools, orphanages, homes of the elderly and infirm, and campsites.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 in 2003–04, Biadog drove through unsecured areas to take humanitarian supplies and toys to hundreds of Iraqi children near the Baghdad International Airport during the Christmas holidays.

When Superstorm Sandy hit New York during the 2012 Christmas holidays, Biadog took personal leave from the Navy to volunteer with a Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team from Washington for more than two weeks in New Jersey and New York.

Several times Biadog has led teams of Marines, sailors, parents and students in taking humanitarian supplies to the impoverished survivors of natural and man-made disasters in the Philippines, Japan and other Asian countries. He orchestrated the shipment of tons of supplies by land, sea and air on his own time during holidays. Many of the recipients were destitute children.

“The spirit of voluntarism is in my DNA,” Biadog said. “It started early in my life during my elementary school and Scouting years. To this day I still follow the Boy Scout’s slogan, ‘Do a good turn daily.’

“I continued helping people throughout my high school, college and seminary years. When I joined the military in 1990 I started counting and reporting to my military commands my voluntary hours beyond military duties,” Biadog continued. “From 2014–24 alone, I averaged more than 500 volunteer hours every year. It’s a hard-earned effort, challenging, fun and, at times, dangerous. I have been robbed, shot at, and journeyed in dangerous areas.”

Sources of recognition for Biadog’s service span decades, including the U.S. National Navy League, which awarded him the Project Handclasp Humanitarian Service Award in June 2015; a formal letter of appreciation in November 2015 from His Excellency Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila; and the National VFW’s Chaplain of the Year award in July 2023.

Biadog, Filipino by birth and American by citizenship, “has made a difference with his life,” Maj. Linzey noted, adding that the timing of the President’s Lifetime Achievement award was appropriate since May is Asian-Pacific Heritage Month.

Biadog noted, “If God gives me an extra measure of grace and strength, I will continue to give my time, share my talent, and when I have resources, I will share that treasure too, to any human beings in need.”

“My motivating lifetime Bible verse on serving is Mark 10:45: ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’

He added, “I follow Jesus Christ as the servant leader. His selfless and sacrificial service is the greatest example of what it means to serve our fellow man.”*

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