• Joan Peterson, 14-year Red Cross volunteer, and 18 years altogether. 
"After I retired from working, I decided to volunteer at the hospital. It gives me something to do and to meet other people. It allows me to socialize and help others at the same time."

    Joan Peterson

    Joan Peterson, 14-year Red Cross volunteer, and 18 years altogether. "After I retired from working, I decided to volunteer at the hospital. It gives me something to do and to meet other people. It allows me to socialize and help others at the same...

  • Jeanette Goodman, an eight-year Red Cross volunteer and 20 years volunteering altogether. 
"I volunteer to give back and it makes me feel good to be able to help others. People come in the hospital and often don't know where they need to be or what they need to do first and I like being able to help them and make their day a little better."

    Jeanette Goodman

    Jeanette Goodman, an eight-year Red Cross volunteer and 20 years volunteering altogether. "I volunteer to give back and it makes me feel good to be able to help others. People come in the hospital and often don't know where they need to be or what...

  • Jessica and Scarlett Martin, 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery. 
"It allows me to educate myself by getting involved with unit activities and through the Patriot Spouses' Club and Army Family Team Building."

    Jessica, Scarlett Martin

    Jessica and Scarlett Martin, 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery. "It allows me to educate myself by getting involved with unit activities and through the Patriot Spouses' Club and Army Family Team Building."

  • Sam Ceballos, volunteer with FMWR marketing, Lawton Chamber of Commerce and Fort Sill Public Affairs Office. 
"I volunteer because I'm trying to re-establish my career and build my skill set back up in public relations after about a 12-year gap in employment because I was raising my children. I've learned a lot, in the public affairs office."

    Sam Ceballos

    Sam Ceballos, volunteer with FMWR marketing, Lawton Chamber of Commerce and Fort Sill Public Affairs Office. "I volunteer because I'm trying to re-establish my career and build my skill set back up in public relations after about a 12-year gap in...

  • Chaplain (Maj.) Nathan Kline, 30th Air Defense Artillery chaplain. 
"I volunteer because caring for other people is its own reward. I volunteer because it allows me to involve my family in caring for other people. My wife and three children all volunteer. My wife is a perfect example of teaching our children by example."

    Chaplain (Maj.) Nathan Kline

    Chaplain (Maj.) Nathan Kline, 30th Air Defense Artillery chaplain. "I volunteer because caring for other people is its own reward. I volunteer because it allows me to involve my family in caring for other people. My wife and three children all...

  • Shawna Patterson, one month with the Civilian Personnel Office, three years with Protestant Women's Chapel. 
"I haven't worked in six years and I enjoy doing secretarial work and meeting people, so this is helping me with my resumé and brushing up on my job skills. Volunteering with the church is my way of giving back to the community through Bible study."

    Shawna Patterson

    Shawna Patterson, one month with the Civilian Personnel Office, three years with Protestant Women's Chapel. "I haven't worked in six years and I enjoy doing secretarial work and meeting people, so this is helping me with my resumé and brushing...

  • Lisa Overbay, volunteer with ACS Financial Readiness program. 
"I volunteer because I recently retired and I like helping families and Soldiers. I have been doing it for a long time. I want to pursue this work in my future so I am getting social skills. and the Army Community Service staff has been mentoring me for a long time."

    Lisa Overbay

    Lisa Overbay, volunteer with ACS Financial Readiness program. "I volunteer because I recently retired and I like helping families and Soldiers. I have been doing it for a long time. I want to pursue this work in my future so I am getting social...

  • Brandi Stringer, 1st battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery. 
"I volunteer to help others and because I am in a position to help, and I hope if I am ever in need someone will help me. You do what you can when you can. It lets me pay it forward."

    Brandi Stringer

    Brandi Stringer, 1st battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery. "I volunteer to help others and because I am in a position to help, and I hope if I am ever in need someone will help me. You do what you can when you can. It lets me pay it forward."

  • Cecilia Ryals, 1st Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery. 
"I volunteer because I like for our Family Readiness Group to have funds to do activities. So I help raise funds for the FRG. That's my main goal."

    Cecilia Ryals

    Cecilia Ryals, 1st Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery. "I volunteer because I like for our Family Readiness Group to have funds to do activities. So I help raise funds for the FRG. That's my main goal."

FORT SILL, Okla. -- Volunteer Week is April 22-26, and this year's theme is "Volunteers - Strengthening a Nation."

Every April, volunteers are recognized and honored for their selfless service during Volunteer Week.

"With dwindling budgets and a challenging job market, volunteers make an incredible impact on the community," said Laurie Batule, Army Volunteer Corps program manager. Throughout the month, commanders have recognized family readiness group volunteers.

Also, Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, and his wife, Connie, have hosted volunteer appreciation coffees for agency and organization volunteers at the Polo Club.

The April recognition activities culminate April 26 at 6 p.m. with the Helping Hands awards ceremony, a free dinner event open to all Fort Sill volunteers at the Patriot Club.

In addition to celebrating the work done by those great volunteers, the system used to track the hours, the Volunteer Management Information System, is also being recognized as an invaluable tool.

"In 2011 there were 1,789 active users who logged in 111,277 hours," said Batule. "In 2012, we continued to stress the importance of this program and our volunteers stepped up and used VMIS and it really showed in the numbers. From January to December 2012, there were 2,114 active users who logged in 120,459 volunteer hours."

Batule said retirees, active-duty Soldiers, Department of Army civilians and their families really are strengthening the nation.

"We have Soldiers and family members volunteering in every aspect of the community like the Armed Services YMCA Soldier's Closet and at the airport Welcome Center, the Red Cross, the Veterans Affairs, the Thrift Shop and at Family and MWR events like the Easter Egg Hunt, Oktoberfest and the July 4th concert."

Using VMIS is a win-win situation for everyone. Soldiers and their families who use the system have an official record of their volunteer time that moves with them from installation to installation.

With an official volunteer service record, Soldiers are able to justify a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and receive 10 points on the E-5 and E-6 promotion boards. College scholarships and job applications are also enhanced with an official volunteer service record. Many volunteers are hired as a result of sharing their time and talent with organizations and agencies.

"Our volunteers step up every day and improve the quality of life for our friends and neighbors in the Fort Sill and local communities," Batule said, "It's great there is a system in place to officially track the incredible number of hours served by these great volunteers."

For more information about VMIS and volunteer opportunities in the Fort Sill area, go to www.myarmyonesouce.com and click on Volunteer Tools or call Batule at 580-442-4916.

Page last updated Thu April 18th, 2013 at 00:00