By Capt Maryjane PorterJanuary 9, 2012
Helping others. Some may see it as a burdensome obligation. But not Spc. Justin Pfeiffer, a member of the 365th Engineer Battalion, Schuylkill, Pa.
The 23-year old watched and learned while growing up in small town Quarryville, Pa., that 'doing good for other people' is part of everyday family life.
So it was no surprise that the Army medic stepped up to the plate when the 365th Family Readiness Group was short of funds to host a banquet for roughly 200 Soldiers and their family members in December.
Pfeiffer gathered his own family -- mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins -- and discussed a plan to sell hundreds of sub-sandwiches to local businesses with the goal to raise at least $1,000. Pfeiffer was not worried about the outcome as Quarryville is a close-knit community and very supportive of the Armed Forces.
"My grandfather and several uncles are all retired military, so everyone was on board to support this from the get-go," he said, noting that the importance of giving back to one's community is a topic of regular conversation around the family dinner table.
Pfeiffer, in his vigorous but modest demeanor, took charge from the start and synchronized a collective effort to ensure minimal delays along the way.
He worked with his aunt, a manager at a local pharmacy store, to get approval to sell outside the store. He solicited the help of others to prepare and package over 100 sandwiches. He went door to door and galvanized local business owners to dig deep into their pockets for their support.
Pfeiffer did not mind standing six hours in the elements to sell sandwiches. He was more concerned about getting the job done. By the end of the day, he raised more than $1200.
"I just wanted to help, and it works when people come together and believe in a good cause," he said.
Pfeiffer's mother, Jodie Miller, said she is very proud of her son. "He's always been that way. Justin is very involved in church activities to benefit others in our community. I'm happy to see the military reinforce that spirit in him," she said.
Pfeiffer credits his mother and grandparents for the person that he is today. "I didn't grow up with a lot, but my family is always doing something to help someone else in our community. They instilled in me the values that I believe and practice to this day," he said.
"Spc. Pfeiffer did an amazing job. His initiative and focus on helping others is indicative of great leadership potential. I look forward to seeing him with sergeant's stripes or even bars on his uniform one day," said Maj. Michael J. Trofinoff, commander of the 365th Engineer Battalion.
Pfeiffer joined the Army Reserve in 2006 and was recently recognized for this significant contribution during an awards ceremony in December 2011.
The 23-year old is not sure what his future holds in the military. But if he decides to not re-enlist later this year, he contemplates joining the Catch A Dream Foundation to provide military veterans and young people with life-threatening illnesses a chance to experience an outdoors adventure.