Vet, AmeriCorps Member Inspires at Summit

By Regina Best

Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps member Regina Best (left) poses for a photo with Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer

Asks audience to serve and do their best ‘within the dash’

The following remarks were delivered by Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps member Regina Best during the Franklin Project Summit at Gettysburg.

Good morning and thank you for this opportunity. I am Staff Sergeant Regina Winefred Best, a California native residing in Texas. Through service, I am doing the best within my dash. What does that mean? The hyphen or the dash between our birth year and our year of death represents life and what we do with it. I am an AmeriCorps member, serving with the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. I engage volunteers in building quality homes, staying safe, and having fun!

I serve because I know how it feels to be homeless and have nothing. I will give my last dime to someone in need. Since I don’t always have money, service is a great way to give consistently.

I serve because I know how it feels to be homeless and have nothing. I will give my last dime to someone in need. Since I don’t always have money, service is a great way to give consistently.- Regina Best

This term, I have already engaged over a thousand volunteers, constructing homes for over 100 low-income families. One experience I will never forget is attending a home dedication ceremony for a single dad of four boys. Over a dozen family members showed up in support of him as he received the keys to his family’s new home. With the father and sons all dressed in black suits and different color matching T-shirts, I will never forget the pride on that father’s face and the hope in those boys’ eyes.

Working with young people has also been a highlight for me.  I taught 200 youth how to build child-size picnic tables. I was also honored to address 700 listening young ears at the National and Youth Leadership conferences. Speaking of honors, last April I was selected to visit the West Wing and share my service story with President Obama himself.

I serve because my heart and soul tell me to. God has blessed me with more than enough. Everything we possess is temporary and meant to be passed along. There is more than enough to go around. Yes, we are our brother’s keeper.

My need to serve was first embraced during my 6 years of active and reserve duty in the Air Force.  I was assigned to Services - which included preparing meals for my military brothers and sisters in places such as Texas, Alaska, Japan, Turkey, Kuwait, and Germany.

Two years as an AmeriCorps member has helped me to regain my place in society — not only as a civilian but as a respectable citizen.  I have become a strong public speaker and a leader in my community.  I have pulled myself out of homelessness and now have stable housing for myself and my fiancé. 

As my term comes to an end, I am applying for a construction supervisor position with Habitat. Long-term, I hope to apply my culinary, military, and volunteering experiences to opening a 24-hour 501 (c3) restaurant to feed the less-fortunate modeled off of “John Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen” in New Jersey.

So I ask you, since there is more than enough to go around, what will you do within your dash? I am Staff Sgt. Regina Winefred Best and I am doing my best to change the world, one year of service at a time.

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Notes

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