Soldier-chef serves goodwill to community

By Sgt. Justin A. MoellerOctober 30, 2014

Service to community
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Army News Service, Oct. 29, 2014) -- For many Soldiers, fulfilling the call of duty is sometimes not enough. Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Roberts, a food service sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, uses his Army skills to make his community better.

For a little over a year, Roberts has devoted the majority of his off-duty time volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville and Christian County, Kentucky.

"It started with my church a little over a year ago, when I first got involved with the Boys and Girls Club," he said. "They said, 'We know you like to cook and like to take care of kids. Do you want to help out?' and I said, 'Sure,' and the first time I went, I fell in love."

Roberts said it was easy for him to enjoy helping, because he was using a tool the Army ingrained in him to better the lives of children in need.

"We have assisted the Boys and Girls Club to be able to feed children who might not get an evening meal," said Mary Curlin, ministry coordinator for All Nations House of Prayer and a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville and Christian County. "They were not able to provide as many meals as they wanted to, when they first started out."

To help the Boys and Girls Club provide enough meals, Roberts said, he uses his own funds to buy what cannot be provided, because, it furthers his passion for both helping and cooking.

"Cooking is my passion," he said. "It's my job, and it's nice to use what the Army has taught me, especially when using it at the Boys and Girls Club. There around 150 children who come here, and who can cook for that many people? Not too many, and with me having to cook in bulk all the time, [that] makes it that much easier."

It also makes it a lot easier to work with children when you have children of your own.

"He has young kids. He interacts well [with these children]. He is a positive role model for the young men who come here; they look up to him," Curlin said. "He has also taken on responsibilities of coaching in the Bud Hudson Football League, where a lot of the children on his team also come to the Boys and Girls Club."


Coaching a team takes a good amount of effort, so to help with that, Roberts turned to his fellow Soldiers for help. Pvt. Adrian Cortez, a food service specialist with the 5th Special Forces Group, coaches with Roberts.

"I started coaching with him because I love football and I love teaching these kids football," Cortez said. "It helps make them better, and makes me better for teaching them."

Roberts was nominated to accept his battalion's jersey, which will be presented during a military appreciation observance at Austin State University's football game, Nov. 8.

"Sgt. 1st Class Roberts has continually volunteered his time and energy, despite long work hours running the dining facility, and has never asked for anything in return," said 1st Sgt. Steven K. Toro, first sergeant with the Battalion Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. "He has made a significant impact in the Hopkinsville community and selflessly gives to underprivileged children in order to provide them with hot meals."

Recognition is not the reason why he helps his community, Roberts said.

"My first sergeant said that it's because of all of the things that I do in the community," he added. "He knows that I don't do it for the glamour. I do it because I love it."

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