Spirit of Service recipient embarking on lifetime of volunteering

Sgt. Molly Hampton is in the Marine Corps, attends college classes and volunteers her time readily.

“Life is about people, meeting people, talking to people, helping people,” she says. “I love volunteering because I get to meet people. I get to hopefully help people depending on the event in which I'm volunteering for. I love that. I think it gives us a purpose, it makes us feel good and we're actually doing something that you usually get to see an immediate result with, which I think is awesome.”

Hampton decided to join the Marines when she was a high school senior. While in the Marine Corps, her enthusiasm for volunteering blossomed. “When I got involved with the Single Marine program, I started to see all these volunteer events to try out,” she recalled. “Once I started volunteering with the Marines, I really started to see the true value of it.”

For her volunteer efforts, Hampton was among the recipients of The American Legion’s Spirit of Service award, which she received on stage at the organization’s 100th national convention in Minneapolis last August.

“Receiving the Spirit of Service award honestly means the world to me, to be surrounded by these amazing individuals from other branches that have dedicated their life to selfless service in the military and beyond the military is absolutely humbling and amazing,” Hampton said. “It really encourages me to continue to serve others for my remaining time in the military and beyond.”

Her commitment to the Marines concludes at the end of this year. As Hampton transitions back to the civilian world, she will be mindful of continuing her volunteer work.

“I love The American Legion, especially after going to the convention,” she says. “I would absolutely love to work with The American Legion and I know that right now, because of receiving the award I was given the membership, I would also like to continue to be a Legionnaire, and continue to work with The American Legion.”

Hampton volunteers her time at Spirit Equestrian, a horse farm in Virginia, where she works with therapy horses and patients with disabilities who ride them. On Saturday mornings, she will arrive at the farm early to feed and brush the horses, then help the kids get on the horses and provide emotional support.

The patients range in age from 2 to 20 years of age. Some have physical disabilities. Other are dealing with emotional issues such as schizophrenia. “Just seeing these kids really makes me recognize I am just blessed in my health,” she said. “I love to help them in any way, especially on a horse. That's a brilliant way to help some of these kids, and they love it too.”

Hampton also routinely volunteers with the Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol, which delivers meals to the homeless on Washington’s city streets. The Marines pile into a van and follow the Grate Patrol. At various points, the volunteers stop, unload and dish out the meals.

“You see the people come up to the truck and they're struggling,” she said. “You see it in their face, you see it in the way that they look. Again, it's another reminder of how blessed we are. To be able to help these people that have a lot less than we do with just a meal is amazing. It is really fulfilling when they say, ‘Thank you, God bless.’”

After leaving the Marines, Hampton is eyeing a return to the classroom. She wants to teach her students to explore their worlds through reading and writing. As a civilian, Hampton plans to continue her volunteer efforts.

“God inspires me to serve,” she says. “I just think that we're called to serve others. I think that God calls us to serve others, and when I think about God, and the Lord I want to be more like him, I want to help people, and I want to be better and glorify God. I just think if everyone has that mentality the world would be a better place.”