Life-long Marine Corps Supporter “Earns The Title”

Carl | June 20, 2013 


A single tear traveled down her face. Flushed with emotion, her voice slightly cracked as she addressed the silent auditorium for the first time as a Marine.

For 21 years, the U.S. Marine Corps has recognized individuals from the civilian community for their dedication, support and extraordinary contribution to the Corps. By the hand of the commandant of the Marine Corps, these selected individuals have earned the title of “Honorary Marine.”

Phyllis M. Taylor, philanthropist, life-long Marine Corps supporter and wife of the late veteran and entrepreneur Patrick F. Taylor, was the latest to be inducted into this elite group of individuals, June 14. As an additional reward, the ceremony was hosted in her home state of Louisiana at the Marine Forces Reserve Headquarters, Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS -- Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, awards the Honorary Marine certificate to Phyllis M. Taylor, chairman of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, during the Honorary Marine Ceremony held at Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans, June 14. The Honorary Marine title is designated to reinforce the special bond between the American people and the Corps by recognizing individuals in the community who have made extraordinary contributions to the Marine Corps. It can only be awarded by the commandant of the Marine Corps. Taylor is the 76th recipient since the first award in 1992. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl Mackenzie Schlueter) (Photo by Cpl. Fenton Reese)

“It is such an honor to be a part of such an organization,” Taylor said during her thank you remarks. “These past few years have been incredibly rewarding. Patrick and I have truly met and connected with some amazing individuals; we almost feel like we live vicariously through them and their stories.”

Taylor is currently the chairman of Endeavor Enterprises L.L.C., a newly formed management company to oversee the many Taylor operations. Since the passing of her husband in 2004, she has taken the reigns as the chairman and chief executive officer for Taylor Energy Company LLC, as well as the chairman and president of the Patrick F. Taylor foundation.

The Taylors’ dedication to the Marine Corps was spawned in 1959 when Mr. Taylor was honorably discharged for medical reasons. Although he could no longer physically serve, he maintained his motivation and dedication to the Corps and country.

“While we obviously respect the other services, we have always felt something special particularly with the Marine Corps,” she added. “Patrick told me that in all his education, he learned more from the Marine Corps than in any classroom.”

Over the past 30 years, the Taylors have donated to, participated in and supported numerous projects of the Marine Corps; to include the Gen. John A. Lejeune statue at Annapolis, Md., the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico, Va., the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Va., and at the U.S.S. Kidd in Baton Rouge, La. They also supported the “Iron Mike” statue at the National Museum of the Marine Corps; the “Molly Marine” statue at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and in New Orleans; the John McKeithen Statue at the Superdome in New Orleans; and finally the Ronald Reagan Statue on the Ronald Reagan Highway in Convington, La.

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have participated in the Toys for Tots campaign and supported the Headquarters Battalion Marine Forces Reserve Marine Corps Birthday Ball Celebration. Even beyond the passing of her husband, Mrs. Taylor continues her support of the birthday ball each year by paying for all E-3, or lance corporal, and below and Tulane University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps unit cadets to attend the Ball free of charge.

In addition to their military support, the Louisiana natives have provided more than 10 and a half million dollars in scholarships, donations and grants to youth education in the past five years alone through their foundation founded in 1985.

“How does the saying go? I believe it is from the Bible: ‘It is better to give than to receive,’ Patrick and I have found that that is very true,” said Mrs. Taylor. “This has been amazing.”

Ronald Reagan was quoted as saying some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem. Now, 28 years later, Mrs. Taylor can embody that quote as the 76th Honorary Marine.

Taylor said in her remarks that she doesn’t see anything changing now that she has this title. She said if anything, she plans to work 10 times harder just to uphold the name out of the respect she has for the title. She also added that being a Marine, honorary or not, is more than a title; it’s a responsibility.

“I am very honored to have this opportunity, but more than that, I take this very seriously…I am stepping into shoes that have been filled by some amazing individuals,” she said. “I will continue to do what I am doing, but I will now do it with an even greater sense of pride knowing that I am now one of them.”

According to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, although she has never stood on the yellow footprints as a recruit, gone face to face with a drill instructor or marched across a parade deck in her service uniform, she is a Marine.

“You can’t buy the title Marine. You can’t sell the title Marine. It can’t be traded; it can’t be inherited; it can’t be donated. It must be earned,” quoted Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of MARFORRES, as he addressed the audience prior to presenting the “Honorary Marine,” symbolic placard and pin to Mrs. Taylor.

She regained her composure, pulled back her tears and finished her speech. As she walked across the stage the MARFORRES auditorium erupted in cheers and applause. After numerous years of her and her husband’s unwavering dedication and unconditional contribution to the Marine Corps, Mrs. Taylor has earned the title of “Honorary Marine.”

Cpl. Fenton Reese

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