A passion to serve
By Senior Airman Mikayla Gibbs, 121st Air Refueling Wing
/ Published May 04, 2021
COLUMBUS, OH -- Serving others seems to be second nature for Staff Sgt. Cherelle Hines. She stands out in her community, and even though she was not looking for recognition, she received an award for her actions in her community.
Hines joined the Air National Guard in 2014 after years of being urged to join by a family member. Hines currently works as an education and training specialist in the force development office at the 121st Air Refueling Wing.
“I love my job,” she said. “I love education and training, and I love being able to help airmen who come in our office with their professional development.”
As part of her job at the 121st, Hines talks to airmen about getting their degree from the Community College of the Air Force. She discusses the benefits of the CCAF and what members need to do to obtain their degree, she said. She also helps with school and training requests.
“I love the idea of helping airmen succeed,” she said. “I will stay here as long as they will have me.”
In 2017, Hines started a new job with the Department of the Navy and moved from Columbus, Ohio, to Bloomington, Indiana. She said she started working in the community to get to know her new home.
“I’ve been setting up food drives, toy drives, and coat drives and mentoring students in local schools,” she said. “I got to share my story about being in the military and working full time to some high school seniors. I just love getting out in the community.”
Hines encouraged her friends and coworkers to help by donating food to those in need, she said. One colleague who also knew of all the other work Hines was doing in the community nominated her for the 2021 Outstanding Black Leader of Tomorrow award in the city of Bloomington.
Part of the nomination stated that Hines “has motivated many of her coworkers to get out and get involved in making Bloomington a place to live and not just visit.”
“I wasn't doing it for the recognition, but I'm thankful that someone noticed,” she said. “Last year was a hard year for everyone, and I just wanted to keep the faith and keep the morale up.”
Hines was selected as the 2021 Adult Female Outstanding Black Leader of Tomorrow and was presented her award by the mayor of Bloomington at the 2021 Black History Month Gala. This is the first year that the female category was added, so Hines was the first female recipient of this award.
“I was really surprised because I do everything out of my passion to serve and help, so it was just really an honor that I was nominated and then selected for this award.”
Even though she now lives in Bloomington, Hines does everything she can for the Columbus community when she returns for drill weekends at Rickenbacker.
“I try to give my all and help as many people as I can the weekends that I do come back,” she said. “I need to continue the work that I'm doing and do even more because I can't let the honor of receiving this award be in vain.”