HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. –
Multilingual Soldiers are finding themselves in high demand as volunteer workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eight Soldiers from the Southern California Recruiting Battalion volunteer at the Saddleback Church food pantry each Wednesday and Saturday. Their ability to translate information to Spanish is helping families navigate the current crisis.
“As Soldiers, part of our job is to help the community and give back,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Rosado, a recruiter with Huntington Beach Recruiting Company. “We help translate for Spanish speaking families, coordinate needed services like filing for unemployment, help package and distribute food to the local community.”
The unit began volunteering at the food pantry April 8. Initially they just handed out food. They quickly learned their translation skills were as useful as their ability to deadlift boxes of canned food.
“Since we have been volunteering, I have started to see hope in the faces of the people who come,” said Staff Sgt. Edwar Flores, recruiter with Hunting Beach company. “We feel fortunate that we are Soldiers and have a full-time job and don’t feel the stress of this pandemic like the community has, and that’s why we feel it’s so important to give back and help the community.”
Staff Sgt. Jameigh Flores, who is married to Edwar Flores and is also a recruiter, sees many different benefits to giving back.
“Volunteering helps set the example for my daughters,” Jameigh Flores said. “This opportunity has helped let the local community know that we are here to support them and they are not alone.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many daily routines and ways of life, but the Army’s commitment to the value of selfless service has remained the same.
“Since we began volunteering at the food bank, the local community has recognized the different ways we as Soldiers give back, and some of them have begun the process to join our ranks,” Rosado explained. “The most important thing to me, as a recruiter, is to first give back and take care of the community, but we are always here to give information about the different ways you can become a Soldier.”
For more information about the different careers the Army has text “AHT5” to GoArmy (462769).