FAIRFAX, Va. –
Maj. Chianti Ivory, a U.S. Army Reserve officer, living in Virginia, has been volunteering since she was a little girl. She says she started with her grandmother, who taught her to dedicate 10 percent of her time to serving others in need.
Earlier this year, Chianti received the “Made a Difference” award in Fairfax, Virginia, for her devotion to volunteer work within her community.
“This award signifies that what I’m doing in the community is not going unnoticed,” said Ivory. “Volunteering to spend time with our veterans is a visit back in time. These stories are sometimes never heard, and most of them are never written about. These veterans are living history books with three-dimensional graphics and full of emotion.”
Chianti currently works for the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has a background in medical policy, and is a native of New Orleans.
The award she received, a joint collaboration between the Fairfax-Lee Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) and George Mason University (GMU), is presented annually to Soldiers selected by their respective Army component for dedicated service to both their communities and the Army over a continuous period of time. They each represent their commands as Soldiers who embody the Army Values.
“We ask different units to submit nominees, and we evaluate all of the applications,” said Nancy Jean-Louis, president of the AUSA Fairfax-Lee Chapter. “We recognize those who also make a difference outside of the uniform.”
Ivory holds a Master of Science in the family nurse practitioner field from Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Our Lady of Holy Cross College, New Orleans. Ivory says she has been able to use her abilities, expertise and knowledge in various facilities and organizations throughout the world.
“Maj. Ivory embodies the tenacity, resiliency and hard work of a citizen Soldier,” wrote Col. Regina Powell, deputy surgeon for the Office of the Chief Army Reserve in her recommendation letter. “She has had a positive impact throughout the community, honoring veterans receiving hospice services.”
Powell also says Ivory’s commitment and dedication to duty in and out of uniform are an inspiration to fellow service members and in communities across the nation.
Ivory says that while growing up, she was always taught to have the highest level of respect for her elders. She says it is important to be patient and listen and that she holds them dear to her heart.
During the awards ceremony, Ivory flashed a proud smile as she stood at half court, prior to a GMU basketball game, and received a commemorative plaque recognizing her for all of her hard work and selfless service.
She said she was very proud to receive the award and enjoyed working with Capital Caring Veterans Program.
Two weeks prior to receiving the award, Ivory spent time with Mr. Roosevelt Ruffin, a World War II veteran celebrating his 100th birthday in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
She said visiting with Ruffin was one of the most memorable moments she could recall from volunteering.
“He turned 100 years old, was a WWII vet, and was never recognized for his contribution to defend our country,” said Ivory. “I contacted the National WWII Museum and was able to get the president and CEO to write a letter commemorating his service to the United States and congratulating him on turning 100 years.”
Ruffin passed away just seven days after she had the opportunity to spend time with him.
“He was sooo happy that day. His family was sooo appreciative of the things everyone did for them. I am grateful to have been in his presence and to help give the family a memory they will never forget.”
Jean-Louis says volunteers aren’t only people who have extra time on their hands. She says it speaks volumes about a person when they dedicate their time to others.
“We get so caught up in day-to-day activities and sometimes forget that we are also part of the community,” said Jean-Louis. “When you are doing things out of your own kindness to fill a need … you’re now elevating your community, and that is how you make a difference.”