FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – By signing an enlistment contract, Soldiers are already showing their dedication not only to their local community but to their country as a whole.
However, fulfilling the call of duty is sometimes not enough. For Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Roberts, a food service sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), it was an opportunity to use the skills the Army trained him to do, to better his community.
For a little over a year, Roberts has devoted the majority of his off-duty time volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville and Christian County, KY.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Roberts, food service sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), talks to the children of his football team, Oct. 21, 2014. The team he coaches is part of the Bud Hudson Youth Football League of the Boys and Girls Club of America in Christian County, Ky. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin A. Moeller, 5th SFG (A) Public Affairs)
“It started with my church a little over a year ago, when I first got involved with the Boys and Girls Club,” said Roberts. “They said ‘we know you like to cook and like to take care of kids, do you want to help out?' and I said sure, and the first time I went I fell in love.”
It was easy for him to fall in love because he was using a tool the military ingrained in him to better the lives of children in need.
“We have assisted the Boys and Girls Club to be able to feed children who might not get an evening meal,” said Mary Curlin, ministry coordinator for All Nations House of Prayer and volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club of Hopkinsville and Christian County. “They were not able to provide as many meals as they wanted to when they first started out.”
To help the Boys and Girls Club provide the desired amount of meals, Roberts uses his own funds to buy what cannot be provided and in doing so, it furthers his passion for both helping and cooking.
“Cooking is my passion, it's my job, and it's nice to use what the Army has taught me, especially when using it at the Boys and Girls Club,” said Roberts. “There around 150 children who come here, and who can cook for that many people? Not too many, and with me having to cook in bulk all the time, makes it that much easier.”
It also makes it a lot easier to work with children when you have children of your own.
“He has young kids, he interacts well [with these children], he is a positive role-model for the young men who come here; they look up to him,” said Curlin. “He has also taken on responsibilities of coaching in the Bud Hudson Football League where a lot of the children on his team also come to the Boys and Girls Club.”
Coaching a team takes a good amount of effort, so to help with that Roberts turned to his Soldiers for help.
“Sgt. 1st Class Roberts is my NCOIC [noncommissioned officer in charge] and I also coach football with him,” said Pvt. Adrian Cortez, a food service specialist with the 5th SFG (A). “I started coaching with him because I love football and I love teaching these kids football. It helps make them better, and makes me better for teaching them.”
“I have known him for about four months and I think he is a great person both on and off work.”
In recognition of his outstanding impact in his community, he was nominated to accept his battalion's jersey that will be presented during Austin State University's Military Appreciation game, Nov. 8, 2014.
“Sgt. 1st Class Roberts has continually volunteered his time and energy despite long work hours running the [Oasis] Dining Facility and has never asked for anything in return,” said 1st Sgt. Steven K. Toro, first sergeant with the Battalion Support Company, 3rd BN, 5th SFG (A). “He has made a significant impact in the Hopkinsville community and selflessly gives to underprivileged children in order to provide them with hot meals.”
“My 1st Sgt. said that it's because of all of the things that I do in the community,” explains Roberts. “He knows that I don't do it for the glamour, I do it because I love it.”
“I want to be an NCO that my Soldiers emulate,” explains Roberts. Which is why he tries his best to live his motto: “In all you do take pride in it, always strive for excellence, and when you're passionate about something follow that passion; stay true, stay humble.”
Learn more about Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville and Christian County
By U.S. Army Sgt. Justin A. Moeller
Provided through DVIDS
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