By Sgt. Robert LarsonJanuary 29, 2010
BAMBERG, Germany - As if a normal Soldier's day isn't hard enough, one 54th Engineer Battalion Soldier is volunteering his free time twice a week to make the Bamberg military community a little better for everyone.
Army Intelligence Analyst Spc. Phillip Franze not only accomplishes his day-to-day missions working for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 54th Eng. Bn., 18th Eng. Bde., but he also volunteers to help teach music classes Tuesdays and Thursdays at the local high school.
He spends his lunches and different parts of his day helping Mary Lee McGuire, Bamberg High School's music program director, teach her students about the basics of reading sheet music and playing their instruments.
"He has been a great addition to my classroom. He makes it easier for me to manage my curriculum and is very beneficial to my student's learning as well. Philip always has ways to help them to improve themselves and their abilities," McGuire said.
During his regular day at the school, Franze teaches during two of McGuire's music classes - concert band for the older students and beginner's band for the younger ones.
"I love teaching at the school. It lets me get my mind off of work, and it feels great to help out around the school. (Ms. McGuire) is a great teacher who needed the help, so I volunteered," Franze said about his position at the school.
Franze said teaching at the school keeps him busy, and he enjoys using his musical talents and knowledge to help improve the music program. The students enjoy having "Mr. Franze" around as he helps keep them involved in their rehearsals.
Even during her absence, McGuire said she is confident in Franze.
"I don't have to worry about leaving for any reason. Franze makes sure the students continue practicing. I don't have to worry about a substitute teacher who doesn't know the students or what we were covering in class the days before," said McGuire. "Philip is there to continue teaching the students what we were working on and helping them practice their pieces for the major concerts that we have scheduled."
Recently, McGuire had to spend some time away from the school due to personal reasons. Franze did his best to ensure the students were prepared for their winter concert that had been delayed due to McGuire's leave.
Even though he works long hours at his job with the 54th Eng. Bn., Franze gives as much time as he can to help the school out, and he encourages other Soldiers to do the same.
"Volunteering is a great help to the community. More people need to do it. There are plenty of places here that can use extra help," Franze said.