GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- A Commander, Submarine Group (SUBGRU) 2 Sailor organized the group's 2nd annual Black History Month Gospel Choir Concert scheduled to take place at the Shepherd of the Sea Chapel in Groton, Conn., Feb. 11.
Yeoman 1st Class (SS) Joseph Brickhouse, of Newark, N.J., said organizing such events is not something new to him.
"When I served at my previous duty station in Kings Bay, Ga., I had organized an annual black history event with area religious personnel and military leaders," said Brickhouse. "When I arrived in New London, I wanted to emulate the same programs I had initiated earlier in my career to further expound on both my heritage and its contributions."
Along with serving as a first class petty officer in the U.S. Navy, he also serves as an ordained minister by teaching and motivating his local community. In this capacity, Brickhouse volunteered to host the annual concert to highlight the impact of African Americans and their religious contributions to our culture.
Brickhouse, who has been assigned to SUBGRU 2 since 2010, said the program was initiated last year in the New London area to honor Black History Month. This year, churches in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey have been invited to participate in the annual gospel choir concert.
In addition to assisting with the concert, Brickhouse's community involvement stretches far beyond the New London area. He is known to mentor others up and down the East Coast.
"It was a calling for me, more so than a desire, to perform this role in my community," said Brickhouse. "This type of outreach is based on life lessons learned since early childhood that I have adhered to throughout my military career."
Brickhouse reflected on the many mentors in his life that have paved the way for him.
"My mentors since early childhood have arisen from what I learned in church," he said. "Throughout my adolescence other people may have looked up to doctors or lawyers, but my role models who served as a source of inspiration for me were ministers."
Brickhouse performed his first sermon at the age of 13, and officially began preaching in 1995. He received his ordination in 2004.
"Rev. John L. McClain, who is like a grandfather to me, performed my ordination," said Brickhouse. "It was a very special and humbling moment."
Each year, the Navy joins the nation in the observance of African American/Black History Month. Established as Negro History Week in 1926, by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, it was later expanded by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976, when he proclaimed February as Black History Month.
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