FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- They're easy to spot at Army formals; the poster-perfect, squared-away noncommissioned officers with those distinct powder-blue ribbon-held medallions hanging around their necks. But the character of Sergeant Audie Murphy Club members exceeds their professional appearance, as they live their motto -- Lead from the Front -- throughout their units and local communities.

The club's Hawaii-chapter most recently demonstrated that commitment through its support and volunteer efforts with more than 45 military children, ages 5-10 years old, who make up the USA Track and Field Pacific Rim Track Club here.

"Our main purpose is to give back to the community, whether it is the military community or the civilian community," said Staff Sgt. Janet Chavez, the club president and a platoon sergeant with the 8th Special Troops Battalion. "We're also always teaching, coaching and mentoring young Soldiers and NCOs to continue that purpose in the future."

The team's coach reached out to the SAMC chapter and asked for help with getting the kids uniforms as they'd been just wearing t-shirts for meets.

Chavez said that after putting it to a vote, she and her fellow SAMC members ruled in favor of helping by donating funds they raised from car washes.

Retired Staff Sgt. Jennifer King, the team's coach, said she reached out to the club because she remembered from her time in the Army that SAMC is committed to being involved with and helping the local community.

The runners now wear new blue uniforms with the track club's name on the front and the SAMC logo on the back. The logo reflects the NCOs' dedication to professional spirit, loyalty to unit and Soldiers, swift and decisive action, and leading the charge, and Chavez and several of her fellow SAMC members also showed up to cheer on the young athletes during their final track meet of the season at University of Hawaii, Manoa, July 12.

"I'm so overwhelmed," said King. "They came through 110 percent. All the children were so happy."

Chavez said, "Just to see all those kids in the uniforms, they were all just very proud to wear it, and the coach said they felt better about themselves and about being a part of a team."

The effort reflects the club's overall perspective on its role in the community.

"It's important to give back, to be humble, and to have these traits as an NCO, so we just do it together as a club, so we can spread and encourage that message," she said.

Page last updated Fri July 18th, 2014 at 22:59