“Every person, all the events in your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.” - Illusions: Confessions of a Reluctant Messiah, Richard Bach
That excerpt sums up bubbly Mililani resident Julie Chavez perfectly. Whether she is rescuing stray dogs that wander from their yards into hers or organizing a support channel for Army wives, Chavez chooses to do something positive with her time and energy.
“I just love to volunteer; I love helping people out as much as I can,” she says. “Sounds ridiculous, I guess, but it’s just what I like to do.”
Chavez moved to Hawaii in March of last year shortly after meeting her husband, Conrad. After a quick courtship the pair married on May 8, 2009, and Chavez, who confesses she always said she would never marry a military man, now found herself getting knee-deep in activities and organizations on base.
One such group she is heavily involved with is the FRG, or Family Readiness Group, for the spouses of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. As a point-of-contact, Chavez acts as a liaison between the FRG leaders and the other spouses to keep the flow of information going.
“If the spouses ever have any problems or questions, they call the point-of-contact,” Chavez explains, adding that she also puts in time with the Care Response Team, which supplies volunteers to help spouses of soldiers killed in combat with household chores until they get back on their feet.
“I’ve volunteered for events, baked goodies, showed up at events for FRG, gone to all the meetings ... I just try to support everything,” says Chavez, who used to volunteer at a cancer center in her hometown of York, Pa.
“I didn’t last too long because I tended to care too much and it really burned me out, caring for terminally ill cancer patients. But I always knew I wanted to do it again, but I didn’t know where.”
So when she reached Hawaiian shores, it seemed like the perfect chance to get back into volunteering.
“I haven’t been here that long, haven’t been in Army life for very long, but I wanted something that kind of got me involved with everything,” Chavez says. “Some people are just too busy or don’t care, and I never wanted to be that way.”
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