Volunteering is a way of life for Soldiers
August 29, 2013
Fort Stewart, Ga. -- For one First Army Division East Soldier, volunteering is an integral part of her life.
"I've been volunteering since I was a little girl. My 'Big Sister' used to take me with her," explained Sgt. 1st Class Shenece Rue, personnel noncommissioned officer for 188th Infantry Brigade, Fort Stewart, Ga. The Big Brothers/Big Sisters volunteer program provides mentors for young people. Rue's Big Sister took her to visit sick children at the community hospital.
Those childhood memories stayed with her into her adult years. Now, when she moves to a new installation, she looks for volunteer opportunities. She has been in the Army for thirteen years as both an active duty and Active Guard Reserve Soldier. She has been assigned to the 188th for the past three years.
"I saw that helping others helped me feel good about me," Rue said. Rue actively volunteers in six organizations, mostly through her church. She feels the need to help out wherever she can, including getting folks more involved in her local community. How she finds out about opportunities, speaks greatly to her outgoing personality.
The Army encourages Soldiers to volunteer as part of the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program, a program designed to improve resiliency among Soldiers to better prepare them to handle any situation -- on or off the battlefield. One of CSF's Five Dimensions of Strength is the social dimension, which challenges Soldiers to step out into their local communities and lending a helping hand. Rue is up to that challenge.
"I talk to churches, I look for groups, I go online," she explains. She said mostly talks to people she comes across to find opportunities. In addition, she looks for shelters for battered women and children in her local community to support.
One of her most recent excursions was the Red Hot Chili Pepper Run. The proceeds from the run helped to fund an orphanage for displaced children in S.C., Fl., and Ga.
She also volunteers on post with Female to Female, a mentorship program for Soldiers and civilians. The goal of the program is to provide a forum in which female Soldiers can share their experiences in a safe environment and foster lasting friendships.\
She is in good company at the 188th. Sgt. 1st Class Tim Foutch, 2nd Battalion, 306th Field Artillery Regiment, also spends much of his off-duty time serving others. He said he volunteers for the sheer joy of it.
"We weren't asking for anything, not looking for recognition. We're just looking to be a part of kids' lives," he said "We" is he and his wife; both volunteer regularly through their church and ant local schools.
Foutch credits his grandparents for his commitment to community. He said they instilled in him the need to help others.
He explained he knows what it is like to not grow up in the best of situations and tries to reach out to those in similar circumstances. He and his wife often have holiday dinners where they open up their home to those who would otherwise not have one.
Currently, Foutch's wife is deployed and during this time of separation, he wanted to focus on college and make a difference in peoples' lives like someone did for him a long time ago.
A strong community needs the support of the people that live there. Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield, and the surrounding areas have many organizations that look for helping hands like Rue and Foutch.
Army Community Services offers multiple opportunities for Soldiers and civilians to become a part of the Army Volunteer Corps. Opportunities to contribute to the community are offered through Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Spouses' Clubs and schools. Volunteers are registered with the installation which logs their hours. These opportunities can lead to a job opportunity.