Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. (April 15, 2015) -- Army Sgt. Anthony C. Robles, Motor Transport Operator for the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element, 833rd Transportation Battalion, 597th Transportation Brigade, was recognized April 15 in a ceremony at the Fort Eustis Club, by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Ross E. Ridge, Initial Military Training Center, Training and Doctrine Command deputy commanding general and 733rd Mission Support Group commander, Army Col. William S. Galbraith.
Robles received a Volunteer Certificate of Appreciation for his involvement in coaching and mentoring military youth over the past year at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
Robles, began his volunteerism over four years ago in Korea and has spent much of his weekend and after duty free time over the past two years coaching JBLE children at Fort Eustis.
Being an all-round sportsman and avid New York Mets fan himself, Robles was predisposed to be a good athletic coach, but it was being a husband and father of two that made him a perfect fit for teaching and mentoring children.
"Many coaches only train in one sport," Robles said. "But I coach basketball, football, baseball, soccer and a running club for military youth between the ages of five and ten."
"These extracurricular sports activities are offered outside of what is normally provided in schools and is geared towards kids who may need more flexibility in their schedule to play," he said. "Some may simply feel more comfortable learning new sports outside the stress of a school setting and this provides them other options."
But it's not all about learning the rules of the game and who throws the ball the fastest, according to Robles.
For him, it is also about mentoring children in many of life's lessons - something that's not always provided in classrooms and in today's home settings.
"I love taking the time to teach them right from wrong and showing them the alternatives that are out there," said Robles. "Life is not just about the game, it's also about the sportsmanship of it."
This is something Robles knows all too well.
Young Anthony Robles grew up poor in New York City's concrete jungle and spent his informative years in one of its harshest boroughs -- Brooklyn.
"We called it "the block," and there were really no yards for us to play in," Robles said. "Unlike kids growing up in small towns, our back yards were the building fire escapes and this is where we did a lot of our playing -- not the most savory place for kids to be hanging out."
Besides having few places to play sports, Robles pointed out that kids "on the block" didn't always have ideal home lives,…something he is also familiar with.
"I grew up without a father and what I've learned in life came from my mother and brother," Robles said. "My mother taught me compassion and my brother taught me the skills to be a good person. These are things all kids should learn."
"I want kids, and especially my kids, to have the moral guidance needed in today's world, and to know and feel what it's like to be part of a team," said Robles. "Coaching allows me to spend more time with my own kids doing what we enjoy, and if other kids and parents can benefit from it, then that makes me happy."
Robles approach to life and coaching seems to be working. The current basketball team he coaches had a perfect 10-0 winning season this year.