MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. --
"Volunteering has always been a big passion of mine," explained Cpl. Nicholas Burkhardt, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing volunteer representative. "Ever since I started going to the events with schools or out with the Single Marine Program, I've been volunteering at everything I can get my hands on. My next goal is to start coaching a basketball team at the Youth Center once the season starts up again."
Burkhardt feels it is his job to not only do his duties as a Marine, but to give back as well.
According to his operations chief, Burkhardt seems to have a handle on all his volunteer duties and duties as a Marine.
"Since the first day I met Burkhardt he was always high spirited and always smiling," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Gibbs, the enlisted advisor with the Single Marine Program and a Decatur, Ga., native. "His character is just so uplifting, especially in the Marine Corps, and I think he's a great Marine. He's always staying late to help his peers, even after I tell him he should probably go home. He just looks at me and says, 'Staff sergeant, it's better that I work later, so these Marines can enjoy their time, and I enjoy helping them out,’ he’s that way with all his work."
Burkhardt's job as an intelligence analyst with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 is to reduce the commanding officer's uncertainty about given situations, to provide security clearances, brief officers about current and future operations and much more.
Although his work schedule can be hectic now, the Hailey, Idaho, native's drive to give was prevalent even at a young age.
"Nicholas was always very out-going and energetic when he was younger, it drove me crazy," said Heidi Turner, Burkhardt's mother and a Boise, Idaho, native. "He was constantly going, with sports and friends, he was everywhere."
Burkhardt started volunteering when his mother opened a certified family home seven years ago.
"Nicholas took an interest as soon as I started it," said Turner. "He still helps even now. He comes home and works with the kids who have Down’s Syndrome. He just loves to help, and now he's more self-confident."
Now, away from his family, Burkhardt has found a new family and even more people to help as the 3rd MAW volunteer representative.
As the 3rd MAW rep, it is Burkardt’s job to round up Marines of different ranks, go to volunteer opportunities and ensure he is a positive role model for those he interacts with.
But this young Marine takes all he does personally, as a citizen and a Marine.
"I've been blessed in life and by my life as a Marine," said Burkhardt. "Giving back to the community and others is my way of passing on what I've received. Especially with the kids at the schools, I see them look at me like I’m some kind of hero, and I do my best to live up to that.”