SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, SC, UNITED STATES
Story by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado
Taking care of others is an attribute expected from all Airmen, but for Staff Sgt. Darren Brown, 20th Force Support Squadron Chief Master Sgt. Emerson E. Williams Dining Facility shift leader, this desire resonated years before he took the oath of enlistment.
Brown’s service to his wingmen mirrors the service he provided constituents as their mayor more than two years prior.
Serving as the mayor of the borough of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, for three years, his main priority was to oversee and assist in the daily operations of the police department.
Brown also provided community outreach for local school children by providing them a “day in the life” of the mayor.
“Those tours were the most fun parts of being mayor,” said Brown. “It gave me the opportunity to give visitors insight on my job.”
Along with providing tours for the youth, he made every opportunity he could to interact with members of the community.
“I went out whenever I got a chance to speak with families in the borough,” said Brown. “Whether it was ribbon cuttings or council meetings, I went out of my way to put a face to the mayor.”
Unfortunately, hardship would soon find Brown. Medical instability in his family required him to work at a radio station, police department, the Pa. Air National Guard as well as various part- and full-time jobs to provide for his family.
“It can be rough on the outside when getting medical care,” said Brown. “My wife needed a surgery. We had to scrimp and save every little bit we earned to get by.”
As the overwhelming stress began to fill his head, Brown looked for a light to help guide his family’s future.
During a drill weekend more than three years ago, Brown noticed the hard work and commitment DFAC Airmen displayed in serving their wingmen.
“To see these service members interacting and providing nourishment to the base really paints the bigger picture of what it meant to take care of others,” said Brown. “Rain, shine or in a storm they are always behind the glass working.”
Excited by the opportunity to serve others in a new way, Brown resigned as mayor in September of 2017 and enlisted in the Air Force the next month.
After enlisting, Brown’s spouse needed urgent medical care.
“She was in the hospital for nearly four days and the ongoing career transition helped me stay alongside her through it all,” said Brown. “I was able to take off and be by her side even after the discharge from the hospital.”
This mindset of devoted care for others continued following his return to duty.
“I really like helping Airmen,” said Brown. “Whether I supervise them or not, I help them take care of the things they need to do. Personally, the most rewarding thing is caring for our Airmen. It’s the E-4s and below that do the dirty work.”
Numerous Airmen at the dining facility noticed his continued positive outlook.
“I think it’s pretty cool that he was a former mayor,” said Staff Sgt. Breyana Edwards, 20th FSS food services technician. “Staff Sgt. Brown is an extremely hardworking, dedicated noncommissioned officer. He’s behind the counter working alongside our younger Airmen, training, explaining and breaking things down for them.”
Edwards went on to say Brown is an excellent worker who pushes his Airmen to be their best.
By serving the Airmen around him, Brown continued to support those touched by his service, just as he did years ago for the citizens of Chambersburg.