Fort Stewart, Ga- All Soldiers sign up to serve their country, but many Soldiers also volunteer their time to the local communities. It is an act of selfless service, which is one of the Army’s core values. The truest form of selfless service is when we give without wanting anything in return.
Staff Sgt. Jocelyn Balderas, a patient administration specialist, assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, said she joined the Army to work on going to school to become a nurse and make a difference in a way that no one in her family has ever done.
Balderas won the 2023 Volunteer of the Year award for the volunteer hours that she did outside her normal duties. Ever since she was younger, she has always been passionate about helping those less fortunate. She loves the way she feels when helping others.
“Back home, there are a lot of homeless people,” said Balderas. “My family and I would get together and cook for them during Christmas or have drives for blankets and help clothe them, so they wouldn’t be cold.”
Balderas said she loves to see the smile on the families’ faces, especially during the holidays. She volunteers around five hours a week. She volunteers at a local church that offers a food drive every first and third Saturday of the month, at Better Opportunity for Single Soldier events, with Soldier and family readiness groups, at holiday balls, at the local high schools, and with Operation: Deploy Your Dress donations.
When Balderas volunteered at the Halloween event last year with BOSS, she saw that she was making a difference, seeing that others were laughing and enjoying the event made it special for her.
She has demonstrated compassion and has made a difference in the lives of many. Volunteering strengthens your ties with the community and broadens your support network, it connects you with the others around you.
Balderas says it’s the camaraderie that attracted her to volunteering and the way it makes her feel when she gets to know others during an event. She tells her friends about her experiences when volunteering to inspire them to do the same. Volunteering helps her relieve her stress and balance her work and life.
Balderas not only enjoys volunteering, but also sight-seeing, hiking, taking road trips with friends, painting, and coloring. Taking a break and having a good work and life balance helps her spiritually and mentally.
Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage are all Army Values. Balderas continues to exemplify the Army values, not as a duty or standard to uphold, but as a person who truly cares about taking care of others.