JANUARY 17, 2022 – Each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the theme “A Day on, Not a Day Off” encourages us to honor his legacy with a day of service to give back to the community. This mirrors the Army’s Selfless Service value, and is definitely not just a one day commitment.
Soldiers demonstrate Selfless Service daily by wearing the uniform and performing their duties loyally. And many volunteer during their off-duty hours to support the community.
Sgt. 1st Class Eric Butler with the 80th Training Command TASS Training Center at Fort Hunter Liggett is a Soldier that exemplifies the Selfless Service value. Off post, he serves as the Parent Teacher Organization Vice President for San Antonio Elementary School; and is an active member and volunteer with the VFW Post 6747, and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
“The thing that makes it worthwhile for me is seeing the happiness of the people we are serving,” said Butler. “I enjoy meeting people, getting feedback on how great the events were; it makes me want to do more.”
On post, Butler serves as a mayor in his on-post residential area, is a member of the FHL Community Initiative Group (CIG), and the acting FHL Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “I volunteer because I enjoy staying busy and adding value to our installation,” said Butler. “I want to contribute to making the quality of life for our Soldiers and residents the best that it can be.”
But what motivates him most is that his children also reap the benefit of the CIG’s hard work. “There is nothing better than getting home in the evening and hearing my kids talking about all the fun they had. They motivate me to make things bigger and better each time.”
The CIG was formed during the COVID pandemic to help boost morale, and has a significant and positive impact for the community. CIG events also support the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation by generating revenue and reducing some staff work.
Another CIG member is the garrison first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Clinton Unger, who also volunteers with Boy Scouts of America. “I have volunteered with Scouts for about eight years because I want to provide better opportunities for my children and other children in the community,” said Unger.
What he likes most about Scouts is that the youth get to choose their activities which nurtures leadership and teamwork. Unger also believes that this allows them to be excited about learning new topics. “Too often we are required to only learn what is presented to us is school or as a job requirement, which can limit skillsets,” said Unger.
He also volunteers for the Chapel’s Vacation Bible School program; supports the Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program; and served as a mentor in two mentorship programs (FHL and University of Charleston West Virginia).
“Even though my volunteer service is not on a national scale, I hope my efforts helps our local children and they in turn, can share their knowledge and skills with others,” said Unger.
FHL Operations NCO Staff Sgt. Julius Williams is a member of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program which includes community service as one of their guiding pillars. He, along with fellow Soldiers, routinely volunteer to support community events and organizations.
“Volunteerism was instilled in me from my childhood,” said Williams. “My grandma and I supported an annual summer program called Save the Kids which provided activities and life skills.”
Some projects he has worked on was helping the Mission San Antonio with landscaping, the VFW for Veterans Day and Memorial Day events, and most recently, the King City Wreaths Across America event as a member of the color guard.
“I enjoy seeing the smiles on people’s faces, and engaging with the community,” said Williams. “It’s important to know the community and likewise, for them to learn about the Army.”
Army civilians also play a vital role not only on the installation, but also in their communities.
Akuaha Moreno works at the public affairs office and is an Army spouse which means she serves alongside her husband throughout his career to uphold the Army Values. Moreno also serves as a mayor of a residential area at Fort Hunter Liggett, and a member of the CIG.
She greatly appreciates the opportunity to work alongside FHL Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Fluckiger, other mayors, and the CIG to support the community.
“This platform provides the CIG the opportunity to be part of the installation team and support residents with activities that may not be available through traditional means,” said Moreno. “I believe that you have to be part of the solution if you see a problem that needs to be addressed.”
She says it is rewarding to be able to contribute and see a project through from beginning to end. “It is awesome to see residents and the kids have a good experience,” said Moreno. “Every event, whether small or big, makes a huge difference in this remote location.”
As a public affairs staff, Moreno, also selflessly serves whenever the mission calls, which includes holidays or weekends.
You can count on the Army family to be out and about making a difference on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and every day!
Story by Amy Phillips
Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Office