By Sgt. Kimberly K. Menzies, 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs August 2, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky-Taking a step back from the pile of the rubble mounded in front of him, a Soldier wipes the sweat from the tip of his nose and he can feel the muscles in his arms starting to burn. The affects of swinging the sledge hammer is tiring his muscles out but looking around his mind is strong.
Gazing into the empty bed of the once full moving truck, a Soldier rubs the dust from her hands and smiles broadly. Though her fingers are tender and her shoulders ache, her spirit is strong.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, rear detachment's unit ministry team established the "Currahee Volunteer Initiative" as an outreach opportunity and personal developmental tool for Currahees.
"The Currahee Volunteer Initiative is a UMT lead outreach opportunity for Soldiers to serve in various community activities, programs or work projects, for the express purpose of developing in oneself the Army Value of Selfless Service," said Chaplain (Capt.) Everett Zachary, the brigade rear detachment chaplain with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div.
With there being several types of programs on post to volunteer through, Zachary explained how the CVI was initiated.
"As the Currahee rear [detachment] chaplain, my assistant and I found the opportunity last April to volunteer with others and clean the waterways around Fort Campbell," explains Zachary. "This began my interest in getting Soldiers out into our surrounding areas to work with others providing Selfless Service acts for those in need."
The activities that attendees have participated in, varies in age group interactions as well as project type and need base.
"We as the [CVI] went out to the [Equestrian Center] in Hopkinsville and helped the owners groom and feed the horses," shares Pvt. Michael Giltner, a brigade rear detachment chaplain's assistant with HHC, 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "We played with the kids that came out to the event that day, and helped around the farm wherever help was needed. We also helped a family move into a new house."
"We also did a work project at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home in Nashville," said Zachary.
"At the children's home, we were able to smash concrete tables and tear down an old playground," said Giltner.
Though most the projects were physically taxing, the Soldiers felt satisfaction and fulfillment from the work they complete.
U.S. Army Pvt. Matthew Dunbar, a medic with HHC, 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th BCT, 101 Abn. Div., said he did not necessarily enjoy the hard labor at the children's home but at the end helping people gave him a great sense of satisfaction and he cannot wait to come back and do more volunteer events with the CVI.
"For me personally, this is what I imagined doing when I first signed my contract with the Army to be a chaplain's assistant," shares Giltner. "I wanted a job in the Army that involved helping Soldiers and the community around whatever fort I would be stationed at."
"Having and starting, the CVI has been very important, we are a direct reflection of Fort Campbell and 4th Brigade, Currahees. Being involved in the CVI will show the community that we, Soldiers, really care about them and appreciate them. We have to remember we are supported by the community outside Fort Campbell so what a better way to give back then being involved in the CVI."
"To be honest, do I enjoy doing hard work? No, but completing a project and seeing the gratitude and smiles of the people you did it for, is what brings me great joy in volunteering and makes doing my job the best."
With the CVI in its early stages, there is always a search and appreciation for additional volunteers.
"We have another event, August 10, my challenge for everyone is to take a few hours out of your day and come to the event," said Giltner.