Abraham Lincoln once said, “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother.”
Lincoln drew inspiration from his mom, and so does Alexis Walters. A transportation security specialist, Walters is with TSA’s Policy, Plans, and Engagement Air Cargo Division.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walters was quick to volunteer at a hometown community center, inspired by her mother’s drive to help others.
Walters and her fiancé, Washington Dulles International Airport TSA Lead Officer Grace Avila, joined Walters’ mom in preparing take-home food bags and handing out hot meals at East End United Community Center in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where Walters’ mom has volunteered for years. Walters got an up-close look at COVID-19’s devastating economic impact on communities like Uniontown, especially low-income families.
“Since most families are caring for their children as well as providing educational instruction, it has been especially hard juggling child care, employment and providing basic life needs such as food and shelter,” said Walters.
Walters and Avila were visiting Walters’ parents when Walters’ mom asked if they wanted to volunteer at the community center.
“I didn’t think twice about it,” Walters said. “My basic life needs are filled, and I personally have no excuse not to lend a hand to those in need. My mom has been retired for several years and has continually served in a volunteer capacity as well as a member of their board.”
So, just how close is Walters to her mom?
“If you ever met my mom, you would know where I got my personality from,” Walters replied.
“My parents taught me that we all come from different backgrounds, and none of us is any better than the next. Knowing that has always reminded me that it only takes a moment or two out of your life to change someone else’s,” said Walters. “Even the simple act of smiling can absolutely change the course of someone’s day. Imagine what it would be like when you smile, even behind a mask, to someone who is hungry, and you just hand them a hot meal and tell them it’s great to see them and to have a nice day.”
Walters calls it “an act of simple human kindness” and said the community appreciated the assistance.
“There was a lot of unspoken gratitude for the fact it can be challenging for a person to ask for help,” she said, “but even a simple ‘thank you’ and ‘God bless’ can make a person’s day.”
Walters said she was always engaged in volunteerism while growing up.
“I started volunteering with a therapeutic horseback riding program, and every once in a while, I still visit and work with the groups,” she said.
Walters also volunteered with AmeriCorps, 4-H, Special Olympics, food banks, shelters and animal rescue. For the last three years, she taught ice skating and hockey to young kids at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Washington, D.C., calling it “probably the scariest experience I have had so far.”
“We are all human,” Walters said. “At some point, you will come across someone who needs your help. When that happens, don’t think twice. Don’t question, don’t hesitate, just do it. Because I promise you that one day before you leave this earth, you will be one of those people who needs help.”