People who volunteer do it for many different reasons but the two most often heard are, "to give back" and "to help my community."
Many soldiers from Fort Polk are doing just that, "We volunteer as a unit as a way to reach out to the community and help" said 1LT Cory Smith of 3rd BN 52nd TICO.
Once a month the unit volunteers together at various locations in both Beauregard and Vernon Parishes.
Recently they made their second visit to Soul Soup in DeRidder where they helped serve dinner.
Another group of soldiers from Fort Polk who volunteer together are SPC Bianca Ortiz, SPC Tatyana Taylor, SPC Olandrick Moore, CPL Devon Douglas and SPC Pricilla Fuentz.
Over the last several years they have volunteered in the communities of Leesville and DeRidder on several projects.
Two nights each week for the last few years they have been in the kitchen of Soul Soup doing whatever needs to be done.
There are just as many rewards for those who volunteer as well. Volunteering gives you a purpose. It often makes you feel needed and you feel a sense of accomplishment.
The soldiers who regularly volunteer are eligible for a military award that adds 10 promotion points.
In 1993 President George H. W. Bush signed Executive Order 12830 creating a military award, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, that recognizes members of the military who perform substantial volunteer service to their local community that goes above and beyond the duties that are required as a member of the military.
In order to qualify military members must have more than three years and/or 500 hours of qualifying volunteer service within their community.
The MOVSM is an accomplishment to receive and the promotion points is an added bonus. But, the real value is in the selfless acts they perform for the community.