Chaplain assistant on mission to boost morale
February 16, 2011
FORT IRWIN, Calif. - During a rotation at the U.S. Army's National Training Center, here, Soldiers can be pushed to the limits both mentally and physically.
The demands of around-the-clock training can put a strain on some Soldiers' morale.
Staff Sgt. David Shaw is hoping to prevent that from happening to the Alaska-based Soldiers of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division training here with an unlikely tool - a smile.
When faced with adversity, Shaw, a Maroa, Ill. native, and a chaplain's assistant assigned to the 1-25th, uses his love for the Army, his faith, and a "glass-half-full" approach to uplift his comrades.
"I find my joy in the Lord," said Shaw. "My job is to help the Soldiers get through hard times. If I'm having a bad time and the Soldiers see that, how can I help them'"
During a typical day at the NTC, Shaw can be found with a smile on his face, walking the Mojave Desert offering words of encouragement.
"He's always there for Soldiers when they need him the most and he actually cares," said Spc. Rebecca Bush, a Chesapeake, Va. native and supply specialist currently assigned to the Brigade Troops Battalion, 1-25th. "He's good at helping Soldiers solve problems before they get out of hand and he always does it with a smile."
Although Shaw's words have a lasting impression on many of the Soldiers he encounters, he said listening is sometimes the most valuable tool.
"He's a people person and that's what makes it easier for Soldiers to open up to him," Bush said. "He's constantly checking up on Soldiers to make sure they are okay."
"Sometimes the best way to help a Soldier is to be a listening ear," Shaw said.
Shaw admits he misses his family and friends back at Fort Wainwright, but says he continues to focus on his mission and finds strength in knowing he will be home soon.
Shaw and the rest of the 1-25th will complete their training later this month and begin the journey back to Fort Wainwright, Alaska in March.
Shortly after returning, Shaw's efforts will be put to the test again as the 1-25th prepares to deploy to Afghanistan later this year.