Soldier gets national award for giving back to community
August 30, 2012
Sgt. Joshua Boudreaux has been assigned to the U.S. Army Public Health Command for the last three years, and he has already made a lasting impact on his unit and the Army.
He was recently chosen to be the USAPHC NCO of the 4th quarter, and in 2010, Boudreaux was selected as the command's Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for superior performance in Army field tests and tactics, written exams, board interviews and physical fitness tests.
As a medical laboratory non-commissioned officer, Boudreaux's job can be quite demanding. He frequently extracts water samples sent to the USAPHC and identifies any potential contaminants resulting from herbicides or pesticides. These chemicals can pose health hazards to Army personnel, even at small concentrations. Additionally, Boudreaux serves as a mentor to other Soldiers within his command.
Boudreaux is busy on and off the job, and this summer, he was chosen to receive the American Legion's Spirit of Service award for the numerous acts of community service he performed while stationed at the USAPHC.
The Spirit of Service award is given to enlisted Soldiers who have demonstrated exceptional military performance and provided outstanding volunteer service in the local community while off duty.
American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong presented the award to Boudreaux during the American Legion's annual convention in Indiana. Boudreaux was also given a Legion membership as part of the award.
"Our nation is fortunate to have such dedicated service members as Joshua Boudreaux," Wong said. "For both his service to America and his community, Sgt. Boudreaux is a credit to his uniform and to our country."
Senior leaders at the USAPHC nominated Boudreaux for the American Legion award because of his extensive community involvement.
When many NCOs look forward to the weekend and periods of leave so that they rest and spend time with their families, Boudreaux saw these opportunities as a time to serve.
He assisted in repairing older homes and constructing new homes for underprivileged families through the Harford County, Md., Habitat for Humanity program; and he also participated in the League of Dreams, a non-profit organization that helps children with such conditions as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and scoliosis learn basic softball skills.
Boudreaux said he benefits from charitable work at least as much as the recipients do.
"I enjoy giving my personal time to help other people," said Boudreaux. "It is very rewarding for me to put others ahead of myself."
During his off-duty time, Boudreaux also donated more than 100 hours participating in marathons that raised funds for the Autism Society, American Liver Foundation, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Alzheimer's Foundation of America, and Child's Play, a charity that seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals through the video game industry.
Boudreaux's supervisors at the USAPHC said he is very deserving of the American Legion's prestigious award. They said Boudreaux illustrates the Army value of selfless service in many endeavors.
"I have watched Sgt. Boudreaux over several years and seen him give every task his best effort," said Staff Sgt. Hiram Hendri, who works in the USAPHC Laboratory Portfolio. "He has given the community a large amount of personal time in order to help others. He is a truly generous and unselfish person."
Boudreaux recently started designing medieval body armor, and that endeavor turned into a community service project.
"A local English teacher's class was reading 'Beowulf,' and the teacher asked that I show the armor to her class to educate them in medieval warfare," said Boudreaux.
Although many of his colleagues praise Boudreaux for the actions he performs to give back to his community, Boudreaux doesn't want much recognition.
"Receiving this award was totally unexpected," said Boudreaux. "I'm not a hero; I believe that helping others is my duty."
In the rare moments when he is not busy performing his professional duties or volunteering in his local community, Boudreaux also enjoys reading, writing poetry and essays, and playing video games.
He recently married, so he plans to spend more time with his wife and a little less time volunteering.
"I'm working to find a balance between my career, volunteerism and family," said Boudreaux. "I believe there's time to give attention to each of these areas of my life if I don't overextend myself in one area."
The American Legion Public Relations Office contributed to this story.