Story By: Sgt. Calab Franklin
FORT HOOD, TX – As a native from the Philippines to a successful staff sergeant and leader in the United States Army, this is the story of Staff Sgt. Marie Crista Hines, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, May 26, 2020.
The Army has a diverse array of people from all walks of life and each of them have different reasons for joining the military, for Marie Crista it was Family, financial security, and an education. Hines birthed her first and only child at the age of 17 and found a local job at a fast food restaurant in the Philippines. After a few years passed, Hines decided she wanted something more for herself and her Family, so she packed her bags and headed to San Diego, California to live with her grandparents.
“When I first got here it was really hard to search for a job,” said Hines. "My English and my accent weren’t very good yet and my papers said I just got to America, so no one wanted to hire me.”
Hines eventually caught a job at a local Filipino fast food restaurant in San Diego. Although the job was not quite what she hoped it to be and she felt like giving up on the American dream, an encounter with a customer would end up changing her life forever.
“An Army recruiter came to my work to recruit a co-worker, and ended up recruiting me as well,” said Hines.
Hines stated her grandfather would come to visit her in the Philippines every year or so and he would always say, ‘When you get to America, one of the most secure jobs in the Military’.
After 7 months of living in the United States, struggling at a fast food job, her grandfather’s words of advice all those years ago pushed Hines to enlist into the United States Army as Pvt. Marie Crista Ortega an automated logistics specialist.
“I felt secure,” said Hines. “I’m humbled and its quite an honor.”
After a few years passed, Hines saved up enough money to do what she came to America to do. It was time to bring her son, J.C., and her mother to the United States.
“I filed for the petition to bring my mother and my son and they arrived in America in 2014,” said Hines. “It was hard being away for so long, but they were my drive and force to keep moving forward.”
Once she had her Family at her side, nothing would stop Hines from her professional development. During her time in the military thus far, Hines received numerous awards, completed her associate degree in human resources, earned the title of non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the month, of the quarter, and even went on to compete for NCO of the year.
“I love the Army,” said Hines. “To me, this was a great opportunity and I am honored to do it.”