JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. Staff Sgt. Chris Pearson, an Air Force dental technician with the 579th Medical Group on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, received the prestigious Spirit of Community Service Award from The American Legion during a ceremony in late August at the national organizations annual business conference in Indianapolis, Ind.
Pearson, who grew up in the small neighborhood of Barry Farm in southeast Washington, D.C., graduated from Ballou Senior High School and joined the Air Force in 2002. He was honored along with winners from the other four branches of military service. According to him, the entire experience of that weekend-long conference was something hell never forget.
“They picked each winner up in a limousine. We were treated like celebrities. It was amazing,” Pearson said. “The entire experience was quite humbling. It made me proud to wear the uniform and to represent the Air Force.”
To date, Pearson has devoted more than 2,000 volunteer hours to numerous functions on JBAB and to charitable organizations in the surrounding community. He has served as head coach to the local Pop-Warner football team; provided mentorship to youth members; has provided aid to several homeless shelters; led a group of volunteers in offering companionship to patients at a nearby nursing home and has supervised Operation Purple Heart, which helps raise money for underprivileged children and families in need.
If that weren’t enough, Pearson has also helped clean and repair portions of the World War II Memorial, Vietnam and Korean Memorials on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. He has volunteered time to the National Capital Area Food Bank and has also participated in an annual marathon thats geared toward child abuse awareness.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m extremely grateful to the American Legion for recognizing me and my fellow service members,” Pearson said. “Any success I have in life can be attributed to my family and close friends. I’m very fortunate to have great people in my life.”
Pearson plans on continuing his military career and hopes to one day become a nurse. He also will not let up volunteering to a good cause, as he plans on making the time for many more opportunities come the New Year.
When asked what advice he would give someone interested in joining the military, he said giving something a try is all it really takes in life.
“Joining the military was the last thing on my mind at one time in my life. Now, it stands as the best decision I’ve ever made in life,” Pearson said. “I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and have grown leaps and bounds as a person. It’s a great opportunity to see the world and to experience success.”