By Lance Cpl. Paige Verry
“In my teenage years, I was a follower,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Joshua Williams, a USO volunteer.
“The Marine Corps has served me well,” he said.
Williams was raised in a military household in Miami, Florida. He finds peace in serving others and his community, expecting nothing in return.
“I don’t volunteer to gain something for myself, I just do it to give back,” Williams said.
His volunteer journey began in 2006, when he read books to children, distributed food to those in need and proctored tests for middle school students. He later began volunteering for the USO in August 2020 with USO of Metropolitan Washington - Baltimore, the USO’s chapter with six centers and four airport lounges including USO Quantico. Since then, he has selflessly given more than 455 hours of volunteer service to the USO.
“Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t have a USO,” said Yanci Beers, the center supervisor for USO Quantico. “If I ask for help, Staff Sgt. Williams asks where, and what time.”
The USO, a nonprofit organization, was founded just prior to the onset of World War II to maintain military morale. Today, more than 1,500 volunteers support the mission of just the USO Metro region, continuously providing services to active duty military and their families in greater Washington, D.C area.
Williams has been recognized for his volunteer service and was awarded the President’s Silver Volunteer Service Award. In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, created by President George W. Bush, introduced the President’s Volunteer Service Awards, amplifying the importance of volunteers to the nation’s strength and identity.
To receive the silver award, adults must complete 250 to 499 hours of volunteer service over a twelve-month time period. Williams devoted those hours to USO-Metro’s mission.
“Volunteerism breaks you out of your comfort zone,” Williams said. “Making connections by learning and sharing perspective is what it’s all about.”
Williams plans to continue serving his community and giving his time to the USO.
“Staff Sgt. Williams doesn’t ask, he just does,” Beers said. “It’s just beautiful. I can always count on him.”
- This article was originally published by dvidshub.net. It has been edited for USO.org.
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