CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — James “Smitty” Tocorzic was given the Distinguished West Virginian Award, the highest award that the governor can bestow.

Tocorzic was promoted to Force Master Chief and took over the position of Fleet Master Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the largest Naval command, two years ago. In that position, the Lincoln High School graduate was the leader of more than 130,000 active duty military personnel.

According to a press release from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, he was nominated for the award by Del. Clay Riley (R- W.Va.), which was then approved by Gov. Jim Justice.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Governor Justice and Delegate Riley for this honor,” Tocorzic said in the release. “I have always been proud of my home state. The Navy has afforded me great opportunities to serve, see the world, and engage with partner nations — all while representing the great state of West Virginia.”

Although he has served in the Navy for more than 30 years and been all over the country, Tocorzic said that when people learn where he is from, they enthusiastically bring up “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver.

“It’s interesting that no matter where I visit in the world, people are always familiar with that song,” Tocorzic said. “For me it’s a great way to share my home state and the nation I’m proud to serve. Everyone has a place they fondly call home. That’s why we serve — to protect our loved ones and that special place.”

To watch the Navy video of Tocorzic speaking on Fleet Orders and importance of Family from April, click here.