Volunteer efforts enhance quality of life in Wiesbaden military community
June 6, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - It's hard to measure the tremendous contributions volunteers make to enhance a community's overall quality of life. But judging from the more than $1.6 million saved by the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden thanks to volunteers, it's easy to get an idea of the immense value they add.
"The number of volunteers that we have here is huge. … We have more than 1,700 registered volunteers in the community," said Col. David Carstens, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander.
While there may be many more unregistered volunteers, Army Community Service officials estimate that among those who keep track of their hours, more than 75,000 hours were contributed this past year.
It would be impossible for the garrison to replicate that effort through contract or paid employee positions, Carstens said, especially in light of current budget constraints Army-wide.
"Our volunteers help build resiliency in our community," the commander said while recognizing everyone who donates his or her time and talents at the community's Volunteer Recognition Ceremony at the ACS Cafeteria May 17. "Their commitment to excellence is a proven fact."
This year's ceremony, honoring all volunteers and those who made the most significant contributions over the past year, featured a sports theme and a special "halftime" appearance by members of the U.S. Army Europe Chorus. While volunteers shared a buffet lunch and conversation, they were treated to a whirlwind tour of everyone's favorite pop songs, courtesy of the USAREUR Chorus.
"The extent of dedication, commitment and talents of each volunteer makes each one a true champion," said Jan Meert, ACS director.
Before getting to the community Volunteers of the Year awards, Carstens and Command Sgt. Maj. Sa'eed Mustafa recognized one individual for special achievement and six volunteer organizations for having donated more than 5,000 volunteer hours each during the course of the volunteer year. These included Michele Brashear earning the Commander's Award for Public Service and Wiesbaden's American Red Cross; Thrift Shop; Child, Youth and School Services; Protestant Gospel Service, Community Spouses Club and Protestant Women of the Chapel receiving the President's Volunteer Service Award.
"This award is our way of thanking those volunteer organizations and inspiring everyone in our community to make volunteering a central part of their lives," said Dr. Robert Schloesser, director of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Volunteer organizations and units nominated their "most valuable players" for the Volunteers of the Year awards. Nominees in the Youth Category included Richard Heiges, Courtney Schaub and Charlotte Frillman. William Heiges was the sole Retiree nominee, Lt. Col. Jason Wieman the Military nominee and the Adult Category nominees were Rebecca Carmichael, Cathy Ruhl-Kemp, Anita Libby, Ryan Peralta, Pia Heiges, Wendy Sledd and Kimberly Anderson.
This year's Vounteers of the Year were: Courtney Schaub, Youth; Lt. Col. Jason Wieman, Active Duty; William Heiges, Retiree; Wendy Sledd, Adult; and the Wieman Family in the Family category.
To get involved in volunteering in the Wiesbaden military community stop by Army Community Service in Building 7790 in Hainerberg Housing or call civ (0611) 4080-234.