By Sylvia E. J. Kidd
Director, Family Programs
The Wiles Family believes that it is a privilege to be an Army family and therefore it is their responsibility to give back to the community in which they live. Command Sergeant Major and Mrs. Brian Wiles and their sons, Alexander and Phillip are outstanding examples of what Army families are all about. They work together to support each other, their fellow Army families and their community by giving of themselves.
CSM Wiles, the Brigade CSM for the 1st MP Brigade, has spent many years volunteering for the Boy Scouts. He has held a number of leadership positions and is currently serving as a Merit Badge counselor in his district. Prior to his deployment to Kosovo as the Battalion CSM as part of the UN peacekeeping mission and during the deployment, Wiles served as a subject matter expert for fourth grade students that were learning about the living and learning conditions in Kosovo. He was also instrumental in establishing a pen-pal correspondence program between children in Kosovo and children living on Fort Lewis.
Together, CSM Wiles and his wife Syl provide a monthly luncheon for spouses new to the unit and regularly invite single solders to their home for holiday dinners. They also worked together organizing and gathering sponsors for the Powder Puff Mechanics program, which offered free 36-point safety inspections and headlight bulbs to spouses and taught them how to check their vehicles.
Syl Wiles currently serves as the mayor of her Fort Lewis community. She has organized several “Make a Difference Day” projects as well as being a long time volunteer for the scouting program and like her husband is a Merit Badge Counselor. After the 9-11 attack, Mrs. Wiles coordinated the construction of a large American flag, made from the handprints of boy scouts. The flag was displayed in the Chief of Staff of the Army’s office in support of the victims from the Pentagon. Mrs. Wiles is also very involved with the local schools. She has taught Spanish to children, tutored children, and organized a beautification project for her local middle school. Mrs. Wiles volunteers at the Soldier’s Readiness Processing Center and serves on a number of councils and advisory boards. She is active in organizing the Fort Lewis Women’ Conference. Mrs. Wiles also implemented a scavenger hunt program that collects toys and food items for needy families at a homeless shelter. This program has now become an annual event to support the Fort Lewis Fisher House.
The volunteer spirit is carried on by both of the Wiles sons. Alexander, a senior, is a member of Air Force ROTC. He has volunteered with his family for Special Olympics for the past few years, served as a mentor to young scouts, and has organized and participated in numerous fundraisers. Alexander also participates in “Make Difference Day” activities and has organized a fund drive for a needy family within his school district. He plans to enter college in the fall and would like to be commissioned into the United States Air Force.
Phillip Wiles has served as a buddy for runners during Special Olympics track and field events. He reads to younger children and volunteers as a school crossing guard. Phillip has also participated in fundraisers and school improvement projects. Phillip is a representative to the student council and is active in athletic programs at his school. Although Phillip is only in the sixth grade, he already has his sights set on attending the United States Naval Academy and would like to be a Navy SEAL.
Both boys have worked alongside their parents to support the Soldiers and families of their father’s brigade by stuffing deployment goody bags. The entire Wiles Family volunteers for the Lakewood/Okinawa Sister City Program. This past year they hosted an exchange student from Okinawa and were instrumental in finding three other host families. The family organized a Fall Festival, where each family member was responsible for some aspect of the event to bring about better cultural understanding between American and Okinawan children.
As the 2004 AUSA Rubbermaid-Irwin Volunteer Family of the Year, the Wiles will receive an all expenses paid trip to Washington, DC to attend the AUSA Annual Meeting, being held October 25-27. They will be honored at the Opening Ceremony of the Annual Meeting and will be feted throughout the entire event. They will also receive a generous cash award and a large gift basket courtesy of the Rubbermaid-Irwin Group.
Sergeant and Mrs. Dean Cullum, their children, Jordan, Logan and twins, Victoria and Katelyn from Fort Polk, Louisiana and Fort Bragg’s Staff Sergeant and Mrs. Benny Smith and their children, Benny Jr., Raul and Samantha were the two runner up families selected for the award. These two families will each receive a Savings Bond and a large gift basket courtesy of Rubbermaid-Irwin Group and will be highlighted in a future issue of AUSA News. Each family will each receive a Savings Bond and a large gift basket courtesy of Rubbermaid-Irwin Group.
These families exhibit the very best of our Army traditions, dedication, caring and commitment, to each other, to the Army and to our country. They have demonstrated that the Army Family extends well beyond the boundaries of an Army installation. Their positive impact has made our world a better place. AUSA and Rubbermaid-Irwin are pleased to honor them for their service.
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