Involvement in the Community

  • Published
  • By CMSgt. Michael Hayes
  • 422nd Security Forces Squadron

Growing up in a small West Texas town with a population of less than 1000, I was taught at an early age the importance of community.  I was involved in many organizations that gave back to the community from participating in the annual “Rabbit Twisters” play, to organizing a youth choir to sing Christmas Carols at the small retirement home in my home town.  There was never any pressure from my parents to be involved in so many activities, I just knew it was the right thing to do to build community bonds.  As I reflect back on my adolescent years, I now realize that community involvement was the start of preparing me for future leadership roles.   

The Enlisted Force Structure AFI 36-2618 para 4.4.10. calls on enlisted Airman to “continue to pursue personal and professional development through education and involvement. Promote camaraderie, embrace esprit de corps and act as an Air Force ambassador (e.g., join professional organizations and/or participate in organization and community events).”  I have been briefing newly assigned Airman for years to make sure they get involved in the local community whether it’s the local civilian community or base community.  It is important for building bonds as well as to help in your professional development.  I have always told my Airman to get involved in something they are passionate about so as not to have it feel like a second job.  For example; several years ago I joined a Veterans Motorcycle Club whose motto is “Vets helping Vets.”  For the last couple of years, we have worked together in multiple fundraising events to help local Veterans when times are tough from physically helping a family move to affordable housing, or helping with monetary funds to get them out of a rough time to provide food for their family.  Not only did my volunteerism help the local community, but it also helped in my professional development as a SNCO. 

As a Chief in the United States Air Force, I look back over the years and reflect on how I came to be the leader I’ve become and I can truly say that community involvement is key to how I have achieved the rank of Chief Master Sergeant.  Getting involved in the community gave me the opportunity to lead others outside my work environment which in turn gave me more tools to lead my Airman.  Depending on your current job you may not have the opportunity to lead people, but getting involved in the local community can give you just that, plus it’s just the right thing to do.