Steve Gilbert is a Retention Officer, and he takes his job seriously. In addition, he is the treasurer for an organization newly formed by his family, Support Our Families and Troops (SOFT). The primary focus of the organization is children impacted by the military, and the Gilbert family donates many hours of time to help make life in and around the military as great as it can be.
The Gilbert family has a legacy of service that began with Barbara Davis, the grandmother. She is an FRG Leaser and has been one while she watched the last 3 generations of her family grow. Steve, Kathy, Amanda, April and Barbara are all volunteers for SOFT, and they all work with Barbara to make the Family Readiness Group for HSC , 961st EN BN the best it can be.
The Gilbert family has worked with many organizations through SOFT. They have worked with schools to help make them and the children’s peers more aware of how living a “military life” can impact children. The Gilberts have worked with individual teachers and counselors to create an atmosphere of giving, sharing and volunteerism. April’s peers are three classes of third graders. This group worked together and held a penny drive to benefit the FRG that the Gilbert’s work with. This drive resulted in a donation of $600 in pennies during the drive!
Amanda initiated a toy drive at her community school. Not only did they involve their community school, they also challenged another community school to “stuff a bus”! They managed to collect several hundred new toys—most of which were given to “Toys for Tots”, the balance were used for the children in the 961st Engineer Battalion.
Whenever there is a need stated or perceived by any of them, they all respond without questions. This family has worked with the FRGs in the 961st EN BN as a volunteer for a few years now. They have been with us when we did a table at the State Fair’s Veteran’s Day for dissemination of information. His entire family (including his mom, brother and 2 older children) showed up to help there. They brought a tent for shade, drinks for all the volunteers and much knowledge for sharing with people who stopped for information.
Kathy has begun to do fundraisers for SOFT—the organization wants to be able to send some of the Military Children from our area to DC in August. We hope to have enough money available so that families’ budgets are not strained, and we hope to be able to send children who might otherwise not ever be able to dream of such a trip. It is our hope that this trip will help the kids to better understand what their Heroes fight for. We hope to make it an annual event.
Steve and his entire family worked with us at a car wash and sandwich sale to raise funds for mailing to deployed troops. All three generations have worked toward, and will receive, the Presidential Award for Volunteerism. You can look far and wide, and not find an entire family who will give so quickly and completely.