"Black Jack's" all-volunteer force
May 7, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas-As the clichAfA goes, there are just not enough hours in the day. Those rare few who manage to stay on top of personal, professional and familial responsibilities stand as examples of industriousness and efficiency to others. Yet, there are still others who manage not only their own calendar well, but find the time and energy to help others.
The Chaffin family, of 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, recently received two brigade "Volunteer of the Year" awards-a one for the mother and one for the daughter.
The mother, Amy, of New Ulm, Minn., was also named 1st Cavalry Division Volunteer of the Year and recognized with a III Corps/Fort Hood Volunteer of Merit award as well. She is the wife of Maj. Jack Chaffin, the executive officer for 15th BSB.
The mother of two says her sense of civic duty has been a part of her regimen since high school, but has become more substantial since she and her husband began serving on active duty.
"I've been involved with Family Readiness Groups and other Army volunteer opportunities since 1996," she said.
In addition to supporting the families of the "Black Jack" Brigade, who recently returned from a 12-month deployment to Kirkuk, Iraq; she also spends time at the St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church leading a youth bible study and helping out the Parent Teacher Organization at Skipcha Elementary School, both in Harker Heights, Texas.
"The way I select organizations to volunteer for is to make sure that they fit into my priorities of 'God, family, and country'," said Amy. "My support of religious education, leading Bible studies, and church activities, is an obvious connection to this prioritization, but it also directly impacts our family. The time I spend in the kids' schools not only positively impacts their educational experience, but many other kids who maybe don't have a parent that can be very involved."
The daughter, Leslie, 12, attends Union Grove Middle School, also in Harker Heights, and volunteers her time as well at the family church as a Sunday school mentor and assists at her former elementary school.
"I've always done stuff with the FRG," stated the younger Chaffin. "But I started helping out at school and at church two or three years ago."
Leslie, a straight "A" student and member of the Duke Talent Identification Program (a program designed to identify and nurture academically gifted children) says she began her volunteer service watching her mom.
"I watched my mom and wanted to try it out. It makes me happy, and it's good to see how you can give back to your community."
Amy humbly defers questions about her employment.
"I am very blessed to be able to be an at-home mom," she said. "Most of my volunteer commitments are with the schools, my kids' activities, or with religious organizations they're involved with."
Amy is also an active member of her son's Cub Scout Pack Committee and on numerous occasions has coached little league sports teams.
"We're very proud of our family members who go out of their way to serve their communities," said Col. John Peeler, the 2nd BCT commander. "As much as our families sacrifice when we deploy, it's good to know we have people like Amy and Leslie who always offer a friendly hand."
Leslie plans to continue to volunteer. In fact, she expressed a desire to also work with the Skipcha PTO.
"It'd be cool to help the PTO," she shrugged. "But, you know, I'm still a kid."
Amy, for one, understands the value of service.
"I firmly believe that it is not just the Soldier that volunteers to serve his country, their family volunteers to serve too," she said. "Volunteering with various organizations is another way to live that call to serve."