Mackall has been volunteering in one form or another all of his life and brought that volunteer spirit with him into the U.S. Army.
“Helping others makes me feel like I am doing right to the world and who knows, maybe my one little thing that I did could mean the world to someone,” he told The Fort Campbell Courier in a story about his volunteerism.
Since 2012, Mackall has logged more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service between Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS), The Salvation Army, Boy Scouts and working with Special Olympics. The mission of BOSS, according to its website, “is to enhance the morale and welfare of single soldiers, increase retention and sustain combat readiness” and is a tool that commanding officers use to “gauge the morale of single soldiers regarding quality of life issues.”
“Volunteering is something that I do not like to be rewarded for doing because to me it just feels right,” said Mackall, who graduated from Norwalk High School in 2010.
In middle school, the Norwalk native volunteered with the Learning Zone, a now-defunct mentoring program directed by his aunt, Marilyn Riley. Mackall met with elementary-age students after school to volunteer at The Salvation Army and continued to do so throughout high school.
Mackall said his aunt instilled in him the importance of volunteerism and helping those less fortunate. As a high school student, Mackall taught swimming and one of his swim coaches introduced him to a young child with Asperger syndrome and Battens disease — an experience that inspired him to do volunteer work for those with special needs.
“Those two taught me that the little things in life that might not mean something to you, may just mean the world to someone else,” Mackall told the Courier. “For me, volunteering is something that no one will ever be able to stop me from doing it is something that I love and is something that I do because to me it makes me happy.”
After high school, Mackall attended a vocation school to study culinary arts. While he was working in the culinary field, he began a course of study at Bowling Green State University in pursuit of a degree in sports management.
He joined the Army in 2011 as an infantryman. Today Mackall is working as the Fort Campbell BOSS president to improve the quality of life of single soldiers.
“I started with BOSS as a company representative at Fort Lewis, where I also held the spot of battalion and brigade representative. During my time there I had the great pleasure of working with two amazing individuals who taught me a lot about the program and what it really means to take care of the soldiers and their quality of life. When I got to Fort Campbell, I was assigned as the battalion representative for 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st, and by the end of July I had been presented the opportunity to become the Fort Campbell BOSS president,” Mackall said.
He organizes several volunteer opportunities through the BOSS program for soldiers with off-post organizations such as Loaves and Fishes, an agency that feeds the hungry, and Manna Cafe Ministries that serves people in need in Clarksville-Montgomery County through a soup kitchen on wheels, food box distribution and other vital resources.
Neicey Davis, BOSS morale, welfare and recreation program adviser, met Mackall during a bi-weekly BOSS representatives meeting.
“The more that I saw his passion for the soldiers, helping the community and just volunteering for the BOSS program, the more I was like ‘I think that’s going to be our future BOSS president,’” Davis said. “I think his work ethic and passion are awesome. Everyone loves that; I love it because it’s not about what he can get as a prize, but what he can do. He does it from the bottom from his heart and he’s also a good leader. All the soldiers look up to him.”
Mackall is studying therapeutic recreation with a plan to work with people with disabilities. He also would like to be a coach at Special Olympic World Games events.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby contributed to this story.