By Michael M. Novogradac, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas – Helping others is personal, and nobody volunteers for the recognition.
A Human Resources NCO here earned two awards during the “Hood Hero” luncheon Feb. 6: Volunteer in the Communities – Individual; and Volunteer of the Quarter for the U.S. Army Operational Test Command (USAOTC).
Upon being recommended for her volunteer services, her first instinct was to shy away from her commander’s attention.
“For this award, my section tried to encourage me to give them the details to submit,” said Staff Sgt. Shemieka Evans-Mundle.
“They’re kind of pushing me to develop myself in a sense. You know how the Army is. For me, I like to help from the backdrop. It’s not a dog and pony show.”
Her favorite place to volunteer is Copperas Cove United Pentecostal Church.
“They do lot of community events,” she said. “Every year, we have our ‘Harvest Fest,’ instead of Halloween, and they have inflatables, water dunking, chili cook-offs; and it’s a way to give back to the community and promotes awareness of our church.”
Evans-Mundle said volunteering at church ties in with her beliefs.
“Our message is that you grow — you connect with others,” she explained. “In essence, that’s how I am, naturally. I like people.
“I’m in the field of customer service and I get to interact with people every day,” she added. “I’m doing what I like to do, and then serving God at the same time; it’s kind of a bonus for me.”
As a personnel processing technician, she serves all USAOTC Soldiers with administrative actions such as retirements and awards, or countless other issues they have with their records.
“I am the first person they come to see, so I get to interact with them by either phone, email, or in person,” she said.
She also volunteers at the “Soup Kitchen” in Copperas Cove, where she gathers food and other supplies.
“The Soup Kitchen is community-based; serving food to the homeless and those who cannot afford it,” she said.
“Especially on the holidays, and with the most recent hurricane, I brought clothes.”
The items she gathers are mostly her own.
When USAOTC has its Organization Day, she also collected left over food to take to the kitchen.
Her involvement with the Cove Soup Kitchen was a matter of simply driving by.
“I drove by one day and decided to stop and see what it was all about. The little that I could do, I did,” she said.
To support her unit’s Family Readiness Group, she can be seen setting up tables, cooking, serving meals, and tearing down afterward.
“It’s fun,” she said. “For me I get gratification from it. I want to do it. I like seeing someone happy from what I’m trying to do to help them.”
Evans-Mundle believes she was born with a certain human characteristic that urges her to help others.
“What I’ve learned, because my major is psychology, is there’s this thing called the helper’s trait,” she said. “I didn’t know that’s what I had growing up. I just learned about it recently. The helper’s trait is someone who just has the desire to help someone without a second thought.
“It’s like they see someone in need, and they go, and they just do,” she continued.
“Sometimes, I’ll be driving and I’ll see a lady with a whole lot of things in her hands, and I’ll pull over and I’ll ask, ‘Do you need a ride or something?’ It’s ingrained in your nature. You just can’t help but to stop and help someone in need.”