Press Room

Security enterprise worker helps feed community

By TERRI STOVER Security Assistance Command Public Affairs

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Volunteering is where Tonya Ewers’ heart is. She knows there is always someone in need and that she can help meet those needs somehow.

Ewers has volunteered hundreds of hours in the Fayetteville, North Carolina, community, according to co-workers. When asked how many hours she logged in 2017, she said “I just do it, I don’t log them.”

Ewers serves as the executive assistant for the commander of the Security Assistance Training Management Organization at Fort Bragg. The subordinate organization of the Security Assistance Command conducts tailored training for partner nations outside the continental United States. Security assistance and foreign military sales are designed to build partner nation capability, and training is a critical component of FMS cases.

Ewers views her volunteering as a local version of SATMO’s global partnership-building mission. She is helping her community build the capabilities it needs, particularly in helping address the problem of homelessness.

She named five organizations where she volunteers – the Order of the Eastern Star, Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine, Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority Inc., Blazing Beauties, and W.E.R.I.S.E. Veterans. But there are more.

“Sometimes a friend will wake up with an idea (for volunteering) and we just go and do it,” she said. “You use what you have and share it with others.”

From youth to homeless programs, and everything between, Ewers has volunteered on various projects. It is homelessness, however, that really tugs at her heart. She explained that at one very difficult time in her life, she was homeless for three weeks, while nine months pregnant. While far from homeless today, she will never forget the impact it had on her life. She tells her homeless clients, “brighter days are coming,” so “keep your head up.”

She is volunteering for Operation In As Much, where she helps feed breakfast to the homeless before coming to work a few days a week. But Ewers doesn’t call them homeless; she calls them “family members,” she said. They are seated together and served restaurant-style at long tables, in an attempt to restore their dignity and remind them that they are a part of something bigger than their current situation.

For Ewers, there is no other way. Giving back has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Her mother always gave to the less fortunate and volunteered in the community. And when Ewers became a mother, she hoped to pass down to her children that same spirit of giving.

In fact, she required her daughter to come up with a way to serve the community before Ewers would agree to throw her a sweet 16 party several years ago. Her daughter informed her guests that in order to attend the party, they had to bring two canned goods each. The local food bank retrieved the donated cans, and the lesson Ewers meant for her daughter had also impacted her daughter’s friends.

Her advice to everyone: If you are not doing anything on the weekend, go out and find a project in your community. Share your gifts.

SATMO’s motto is, “Training the World, One Soldier at a Time,” while Ewers is, “Changing the World, One Day at a Time.”