Long-time treasurer and alumnus Mark Patterson was presented with the prestigious Chevron Award, Phantom Regiment’s highest honor, this past winter.
Mark Patterson marched in Phantom Regiment from 1975 to 1978 playing the cymbals for a season and then the orchestra bells. This was before the days of the big front ensembles seen today.
Little did he know that less than 20 years later he would become the organization’s treasurer, a position he has held for more than 10 years.
At the audition camp weekend for this season, Mark was bestowed Phantom Regiment’s highest honor, the Chevron Award for meritorious service. The Chevron Award recognizes those who have gone above and beyond in support of the organization.
Mark is a well-respected Certified Public Accountant in the Rockford area and has been for many years. He’s also accredited by the AICPA in business valuation. His accounting expertise is a big part of the reason Phantom Regiment has been around since 1956.
Elected to the board of directors in 1994, he has been Phantom Regiment’s treasurer since 1996 except for a couple years off at the end of the 1990s. He’s also been a Booster Club member for years.
A committee of board members along with Executive Director Rick Valenzuela suggested Mark for the Chevron Award, and the decision was unanimous.
“I was rather shocked when Rick called me about it,” Mark said. “I do what I do behind the scenes and do it rather quietly.”
Because of the demands of work and family, Mark does not always see the corps a lot during the summer to see the satisfaction and pride the members have in being a part of Phantom Regiment.
“I was able to see it, however, the night that I received the award at the ceremony the first night of Thanksgiving Camp,” he said. “When Rick played the show from DCI last year and the members went wild seeing what all their hard work all year long had produced, it brought everything home for me.”
Mark, who lives in Roscoe with his wife (Lorie) and two children, puts in many hours for Phantom Regiment and only a few people are aware of it, but the rewards are worth it.
“I guess there are a couple of different reasons I do what I do for the organization,” he said. “First of all, it is obviously to let kids have the same experience that I had. I was a lot younger when I did this than the members are today — and I did not have one bit of musical experience when I joined — but I think it is a great experience for a young person to learn what hard work is all about, become part of a team (almost a small community) and to make friends that will be their friends for the rest of their lives.
“And that brings me to the second reason: I get to stay in contact and work with some people that I have known for two-thirds of my life and had the honor of being in the corps with.”
The Chevron Award has been bestowed upon a wide range of people and businesses for myriad reasons. Board presidents and corps directors have earned the award along with longtime volunteers and others who have made vital contributions to the Phantom Regiment organization.
In the 1980s, the winner received a die-cast metal chevron. Since 1991, the winner receives a beautiful clear acrylic plaque engraved with their name alongside a red Phantom Regiment chevron, the symbol of the organization for more than 50 years.