Paratrooper dedicated to readiness, resiliency of fellow troopers
September 26, 2013
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - If you're looking for a noncommissioned officer who cares about the readiness and resiliency of fellow troopers here, you'd be hard pressed to find someone more dedicated to that mission than Sgt. Brian P. Hamilton with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.
On Sept. 20, Hamilton officially unveiled a project five months in the making: a new and improved Crossroads Coffeehouse, located on the corner of Gruber and Reilly roads.
The alcohol-free establishment is geared toward giving paratroopers who live in the barracks a safe place to blow off steam Friday nights from 7-11 p.m. Married paratroopers and their family members may also partake in the facility's offerings of pool and foosball tables, gaming systems, a stage for live music performances and a barista who's on hand to make that perfect cup of joe. All coffee and food served at Crossroads is free.
And as an added bonus, Bible study sessions and worship services are offered at the coffeehouse for those who wish to participate.
For Hamilton, a chaplain assistant with more than six years in the Army, spending countless evenings and weekends working to prepare the building was merely a continuation of his mission to support paratroopers.
"It gives me a sense of well-being and that I am influential in making some young soldier's life more enjoyable," said Hamilton. "I enjoy looking back and saying that I have made a difference in someone's life this week. If nothing else I have made someone smile about being alive."
Hamilton said he's lived in the barracks before and knows how easy it is for young paratroopers to go with the flow and potentially participate in activities fraught with danger. The chaplain's assistant said Crossroads is a place young paratroopers can go to enhance their spiritual and moral resiliency.
Crossroads Coffeehouse is not a new option for paratroopers; unit ministry teams have been operating the hangout for a few years. This year, however, the old location was closed because the building that housed it was slated to be torn down. Hamilton said when he was given the opportunity to spearhead the relocation effort he jumped on it.
Hamilton worked in tandem with garrison command and the Directorate of Public Works to select and refurbish the building that now houses the coffeehouse. The chaplain assistant said he relied on construction skills he learned from his father to bring the new building to life.
Hamilton spent a lot of time scouring home improvement stores for supplies so he could paint walls, fix floors and remove and install cabinets and counters at the new location. He also worked with chaplains from other units to secure furniture donations from throughout post. Hamilton admitted that some nights he worked so late that he slept in the building.
"We tease him that he actually lives there [because] he stays there so much and wants to continually work on it," said Maj. Gregory J. Cheney of Hamilton. "I have no idea how many hours he actually puts in because a lot of the stuff he does-just like true professionals do-he doesn't do it for show."
The Devil brigade's chaplain said that Hamilton has gone above and beyond what was required of him and that he worked well above his pay grade to make the relocation a success. He said the coffeehouse has been well received by paratroopers.
"I have seen soldiers come in the coffeehouse with a tiredness from the week and then when they leave it is like they are all refreshed and excited about life," Hamilton said. "Now that is what I see as being influential in helping soldiers and their families being resilient."