ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- When Chief Hospital Corpsman David Cano reported to Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 7 as a petty officer first class he emulated what a leader should be, and less than a year later was selected for promotion to chief petty officer.
In recognition of his hard work and dedication, Cano, leading chief petty officer (LCPO) of NEPMU-7's mission support department, was selected as the 2016 Commander, U.S. Naval Activities (COMNAVACT) Spain Senior Enlisted Leader of the Year (SELY), March 10.
The award recognizes Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines assigned to COMNAVACT Spain and the National Support Elements (NSEs) for excellence in performance, leadership, self-improvement, community involvement, and military appearance.
Cano was selected from among 130 senior enlisted service leaders in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy pay grades E-7 and E-8 from COMNAVACT Spain activities across Spain and Portugal.
With his wife Rebecca Cano in attendance, Capt. Michael MacNicholl, commander, Naval Activities Spain awarded Cano the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal as part of the recognition ceremony.
"The opportunity to lead Sailors in the U.S. Navy is an awesome responsibility and a humbling honor," said Cano, a native of San Antonio. "Your words and actions have tremendous influence on those around you whether you realize it or not."
According to Lt. Cmdr. James Lagger, NEPMU-7's assistant officer in charge, Cano embodies the chief of naval operation's four core leadership attributes of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness in his daily work.
"It is a great honor for the team to see Chief Cano win this award and represent the tradition of excellence that we have established at NEPMU-7," said Lagger. "He leads within our organization with a spirit of quiet humility. What I like about him is that he ensures mission execution while at the same time making sure the personal and developmental needs of all his Sailors are being met."
When asked where he gets some of his inspiration for being a leader, Cano quoted his favorite line from the film "Rocky Balboa" -- "It ain't how hard you hit; it's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."
"It's a boxing metaphor for life," said Cano. "This world will hit and strike you with very hard challenges, but as leaders we have to accept those challenges and move forward with love, forgiveness, humility, and perseverance."
"My team at NEPMU-7 is a dynamic and unique command that is filled with spectacular performers who know how to function as a team in order to complete complex tasks and missions," said Cano. "No one accomplishes great things solely on their own; it is always a team effort, and I attribute a lot of my success to my NEPMU-7 team."
"With Chief Cano being selected as COMNAVACT Spain Senior Enlisted Leader of the Year 2016, it shows the aspect of what our unit preaches about involvement and getting out there and knowing your community," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Daniel Hosaka, NEPMU-7 LCPO.
Hosaka went on to say, "He is involved not only with the base, but with the outside host nation community in more ways than one. He aspires to guide and mentor not just enlisted members, but junior officers, and this is evident through his roles in the CPO 365 program. He is truly deserving of this award, seeking challenges, succeeding in them, and leading from the front."
This marks the second consecutive year NEPMU-7 has won the award.
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