Face of Defense: Marine Approaches 400-Hour Volunteer Milestone

More than 800 Marines, family members and civilians here take the time to volunteer a few times a year. Hundreds of those make the time to volunteer every month across the area. Some of the most dedicated will spend more than 100 hours volunteering each year.

Marine Corps Cpl. Kayla Soles is well on her way to achieving this goal for the second time, and will soon have spent 400 hours volunteering over the course of her career. What is most amazing is that she volunteers after spending her work day at Manpower Management Division Separation & Retirement helping her fellow Marines process their disability separation and retirement paperwork and attending college courses at night.

As full as her week may be, she purposely makes time most weekends to volunteer in the community.

“I see a lot of negativity. Volunteering reminds me that there are good people in the world. It is where I find my positive attitude and it helps me connect with those who are like-minded,” Soles said.

While she said that she “became hooked on volunteering as a way to help animals,” her interests have expanded to include retirement homes, Special Olympics, honor flights, the adopt-a-school program and the library.

Finding Opportunities

Soles said she is most proud of her work with the Quantico Toys for Tots Program, where she stood by to thank the community for their donations this past holiday. She said she uses the base’s Volunteer Information Center to pick and choose how she decides to help others. “It helps me see what events are available.”

Being able to see who is volunteering for the event lets her know if there will be others there she is familiar with. Soles said she also looks for events with a lot of openings

 “It tells me that they really need help,” she said.

Though her days, nights, and weekends are busy, she strives to make a difference in the world. Soles said she hopes to finish her degree soon. Her long-term goal is to earn a Ph.D. in psychology and to possibly commission as a Marine Corps officer.

When asked about her strong work ethic, she smiled and said, “My dad is a coal miner in West Virginia. He is my hero.”