News: USARAK Soldier Finds Peace Through Music
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Pvt. Christopher Everett had everyone’s attention one cold January day in the Soldiers’ Chapel on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Everett, a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist, with the 95th Chemical Company performed his song “My Prayer” in front of a crowd of Soldiers and friends that had come to pay their last respects to Pfc. Amy Renee Sinkler, who had passed away the prior week while on convoy operations in Afghanistan.
Everett played guitar and sang with conviction. Although Everett had never met Pfc. Sinkler, the song originated out of a feeling of loss.
“[The song] came from a time in my life when my friend had just died,” Everett said softly as he stared at the ground, recalling the personal memory.
He was at a good point in his life, he said. He was going to school and he was about to become a father when he received some tragic news that forever changed his life. His childhood friend had just died.
“My aunt bought me a guitar for my birthday, so I sat back in my room and just strummed the guitar trying to find a sound that would calm me —that would bring me back together,” he said. “From my notes and feelings came that song. “
“I felt like a part of me had been taken out, like I had literally lost a limb,” he said. "So I got on my knees and the first person I called out to was God and before I knew it, I had those words written down.”
Since then, he says he has written more than 200 songs and has set up a small home studio where he records material for himself and his friends. Music has always been a passion for him. He remembers being inspired by the music at the church he attended when he was growing up. He joined the children’s choir, then taught himself piano and acoustic guitar.
His goals are to build up his record label “Tru City West”, record gospel and R&B music and play live. His wife Rashanna contributes by providing computer visual art for his Myspace page.
Everett joined the Army last year, for stability and security for his family, he said.
”Nobody said that once I got into the Army I would have to stop doing music,” Everett said.
He is well thought of by his unit and recognized for his many talents.
“Private Everett, from what I’ve seen so far, is a very humble and determined young man,“ said 1st Sgt. Courtney Lee of 95th Chemical Company. “He’s very talented, not only as a musician, but as a soldier as well. He does everything he’s supposed to do and then some, so he’s been nothing but an asset to, not only our unit, but all of USARAK as well.”
He appreciates that Everett brings soldiers home from the barracks and teaches them how to record and play music, keeping them out of trouble, said Capt. Tyler McKee, 95th Chemical Company commander.
Not very many people knew who Everett was that day he played guitar and sang in the chapel, but the impression was lasting. Everett humbly downplays any recognition from his public performance.
“I don’t want any fame or anything from this,” Everett said. “I got the opportunity to sing for someone who had passed. I wanted to offer her that out of