Drum Corps International
Blue Knights' Arnold named "everyday hero"

Blue Knights' Arnold named "everyday hero"

by Drum Corps International

Mark Arnold of the Blue Knights was honored Wednesday by Denver's ABC affiliate TV station KMGH (channel 7) as an "Everyday Hero." Each week, the station "salutes Coloradans who are making a difference in their community." For more information about the award, go HERE. Arnold was nominated by the Blue Knights' Alumni Association for his many years of dedication to the Blue Knights and its many programs. In addition to TV personality Mitch Jelniker of Channel 7, many people showed up to surprise him: Members of the booster and corporate boards, a Blue Knight parent, several alumni and even his two daughters.

The presentation and interview will be televised on Channel 7 (KMGH) on Friday, July 18 at 10 p.m., Sunday, July 20 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Wednesday, July 23 at 11 a.m.

Channel 7 accepts nominations on their website via a series of questions to be filled out and submitted. Below are the responses to all of the questions as written by various members of the alumni association.

Situation that the nominee has created a solution for: To create a top competitive drum corps that travels approximately 10,000 miles around the country to compete every year. The corps travels on four buses, two semis, one van and one RV. Mark not only is the corps director, he also wears the hat of mechanic, cook, driver, navigator, mentor, nurse, etc. He has managed to keep the non-profit
Blue Knights drum and bugle corps afloat each year despite dwindling bingo revenues and a shoestring budget. He has worked tirelessly to provide a life-changing educational experience for thousands of kids from ages 14-21 from throughout Colorado as well as the rest of the US,
Canada, Europe and Asia.

Did the nominee solve this problem by himself/herself? Who else was involved in initiating the situation? Mark has the assistance of the booster board and the corporate board, and when the corps is on the road there are volunteers who help with cooking, driving and other aspects of getting the caravan down the road, but all in all Mark points everyone in the right direction. He has been the constant driving force of the organization for 19 years.

How has this made a difference in the lives of others? Who has benefited from the solution? I don't think you could even begin to count the number of corps members Mark has helped out. He keeps alive a creative outlet for kids to learn not only how to become a better performer or musician, but how to become a better person. Mark provides these young adults the opportunity to gain personal dignity, self-confidence, responsibility and perseverance at the time of their lives when they need it most.

Is the nominee still involved in the solution/program? If so, how? Mark is the heart and soul of the Blue Knights organization and his dedication is unsurpassed and irreplaceable.

Has the nominee motivated others to actively get involved? Has the nominee inspired others to solve problems in their neighborhood? When you are dealing with a non-profit organization, there is always a struggle to get people to volunteer. Mark seems to find a way to not only get people involved but to have them enjoy themselves and return year after year. He successfully inspires others to volunteer to do everything from cook four meals a day for the kids while the corps is on the road to selling souvenirs to housing members of the staff and corps to working bingo games. He has also inspired many professionals including Bill Welsh (music composer for the youth organization "Up With People") and Andrew Hudson (spokesperson for Mayor Webb) to become actively involved in the Blue Knight organization. In terms of inspiring others to solve problems in their neighborhood, the best testament to how Mark spreads his wings throughout our community is to look at all the music programs in schools around the state, from high school marching bands (90 percent of Colorado marching bands have Blue Knight members, alumni or staff members teaching them) to elementary and middle school music classes.

Does this go beyond the scope of the nominee's job? Practically everything Mark does goes beyond the scope of his job. If something needs to be done and nobody has stepped up to do it, Mark will do it regardless of whether or not it is in his "job description." As stated above, in addition to his "official" job title of corps director, Mark acts as a cook, counselor, bus driver, mechanic, maid, handyman, diplomat, instructor and father to each member of the corps. Mark dedicates his time and services year-round to the corps and in return we offer our eternal gratitude and admiration.

How long has the nominee worked on the program? This is his 19th year with the corps.

What sacrifices has the nominee made in order to ensure the success of the program? Mark has worked relentlessly on the success of the Blue Knights. He has donated time and money to ensure that the members of the Blue Knights do not go without food and transportation during the organization's hard times. Mark has sacrificed 19 summers away from his family, missing out on normal family activities such as vacations and soccer games.