Sierra Vista, Ariz. -- Service to the nation comes naturally to Soldiers in the U.S. Army. For the Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence (USAICoE) at Fort Huachuca, that service starts with the local community in which they live and work.

On Sept. 21, twelve Soldiers and their spouses from the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion expanded their community service activities by volunteering to prepare and served food to a group of over 70 guests of the Sierra Vista Salvation Army's Hot Meal Program which provides meals to those in need five days a week.

Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Donehue, Command Sergeant Major for the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, learned of the opportunity to help out when he attended a reception for Salvation Army Capt. Carlos Souza, the community center's new pastor, earlier this month.

"I mentioned to Capt. Souza that my command volunteers their time to a few organizations in the Sierra Vista community, and we would be happy to help," said Donehue.

Volunteerism is critical to success of the Salvation Army said Souza.

"Although we have a full time staff, many of our programs need volunteers to meet the demand," said Souza. "We provide on average 480 meals a week at this facility, and it takes volunteers to make that happen. Having the Soldiers and their spouses here today was a big help."

Sara Donehue, the spouse of Command Sgt. Maj. Donehue, helped with the food preparation. "This is something we need to do. The community of Sierra Vista is very supportive of the Soldiers and their Families here and it feels great to give back," Donehue said.

The event made a lasting impression on the Soldiers participating as well.

Spc. Angel Gaya said, "When you are helping others, you feel good that you actual made an impact in someone's life. Seeing the smile on the faces of the people you are helping is really rewarding."

"I saw real leadership today, with so many high ranking NCOs and officers coming out to serve," said Pvt. Dallas Lobdel. "Events like this allow us to build trust and gives us a lot of positive face time with the community."

To Command Sgt. Maj. Donehue, volunteerism contributes to the overall development of the Soldiers as individuals.

"Events like this help our Soldiers develop gratitude for the things they have, and when we have gratitude it makes us better people," said Donehue.