CLINTON, Tenn. (WATE) — A U.S. Marine was caught on camera serving his local community by helping a woman carry her groceries home.
Staff Sgt. Benjamin Olmsted is a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Oak Ridge. Olmsted said he loves being in the Marines and loves his job. He goes around to local schools, talking about what it’s like being in the military and what it means to be a Marine.
“Individuals have this preconception, this predetermined idea of what the military is, and they think all we have is the infantry. So, my job is to get out there and give information to young students and young adults that maybe not have a way forward, or a way to pay for college,” Olmsted said.
Olmsted said he loves teaching kids that they too can become a Marine. When he was their age, he didn’t think he could do it. But, he was able to learn how to be a Marine after joining.
“I’m a helicopter mechanic by trade. I work on the CH-53 helicopter. I do the hydraulics and all of the metalwork. If you would have asked me in high school if I had the mental aptitude to accomplish something like that, I would have told you no,” Olmsted said.
Even while on break, he continues to show how the military can help someone prosper in life. He believes being a Marine means standing up for what is right and set a good example for others to emulate.
Some would say he did just that last Thursday when he saw a woman needing a helping hand.
Olmsted said he was at Clinton High School talking with students. He was returning from his lunch break and running late to get back to school. That’s when he saw a woman in a wheelchair on the sidewalk, dropping her groceries.
He knew she needed an extra hand.
“Obviously the thought went through my mind, ‘hey, you know, you’re going to be late. You can’t take the time to do that. And literally, 30 seconds went by and I could not stop thinking about it. So, I was like, you know, it doesn’t matter,” Olmsted said.
It didn’t matter that he was going to be late. He knew anyone in that woman’s position would have a hard time carrying all those groceries home by themselves. They walked at least a mile to her home, and he had great conversation along the way.
“She always wanted to be a psychologist, and she hasn’t ever took that first step. So I told her it’s never too late,” Olmsted said.
His act of service caught the attention of several people on that rainy day, including Brenda Chadwell.
Chadwell was getting lunch at the Get n’ Go next to the Food City on Charles G Seivers Blvd when she saw Olmsted park his car to help this woman with her groceries.
“It was raining, and it was rainy and nothing stopped him. He still went out there to do what he needed to do, what he felt he needed to do and it just moved me in a way that I felt everybody should see this,” Chadwell said.
She couldn’t believe what she saw and needed to share it with the community because she was so proud and thankful.
“Our service members, men and women, just aren’t recognized the way they should be. And I thought that he needed to be recognized for what he had done,” Chadwell said.
She knew it wasn’t an easy walk. She tried to follow them but later learned Olmsted and the woman took the long way to her home. Chadwell assumed it was so they would go around the heavy traffic.
“I know they sign up to serve, but, that just shows that they don’t serve overseas, or you know, in the services. They’re right here in our neighborhoods and I really appreciate that,” Chadwell said.
Chadwell wanted Olmsted to know it was a true honor to watch him help the woman. She said she respects him and is thankful for his service.
Olmsted said he got a lot of waives and ‘thanks’ while he was helping the woman with the groceries. He said one person even stopped to give him an umbrella.
He said, humbly, people shouldn’t be thanking him for doing something that others should do on a daily basis.
“I know everyone was commenting and saying that this was a great deed and it’s amazing, but that’s part of the problem right? I mean, I feel like this should be a normalized thing. I was just helping someone that needed help,” Olmsted said.
He said at the end of the day, helping the woman wasn’t a Marine’s act of service. It was also the act of a father who wants to teach his kids what the right thing to do is, no matter if it means they’ll be late for work.
“At the end of the day if I can just be a good example for others, then I’m happy,” Olmsted said. He also said he knows it would also be a good example for future recruits.
6 On Your Side has been trying to get in contact with the woman who Olmsted helped. We haven’t been able to at this time.