Tobyhanna's volunteer of the year admits he's an easy mark
June 3, 2014
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- There's never a dull moment in the lives of dozens of volunteers who actively support a variety of projects here and in their communities.
Tobyhanna's annual recognition event recently spotlighted volunteers who served in several organizations last year. Officials also named the 2013 Volunteer of the Year and individual groups that earned the gold, silver and bronze President's Volunteer Service Awards. Depot commander Col. Gerhard P. R. Schröter congratulated the winners and awarded certificates of appreciation in the presence of depot leaders, supervisors and employees gathered in the Lackawanna Room.
Tobyhanna boasts 144 volunteers who contributed 9,002 hours last year, generating a savings of $199,304. Individuals support installation volunteer groups, performing tasks that would otherwise go unmet.
The volunteer of the year is a woodworker who has spent a lifetime helping others. James Lombardo was in his teens when he realized how important and satisfying it is to volunteer. He designs and builds wooden crates for DLA Distribution Tobyhanna.
Also nominated for the award were Eileen Rizzo and Louis Roscioli. Rizzo is active in the Tobyhanna Women's Club and spearheading the scholarship program. Roscioli is the chief of the all-volunteer Retirement Services Office, which assists 450 retirees. Both support other organizations such as Operation Santa Claus and the Combined Federal Campaign.
Lombardo's face lights up when he recalls supporting one event after another throughout his life. He's performed odd jobs, participated in fundraisers and coordinated events since his early days of working at a local supermarket. He especially enjoys finding ways to boost morale within the workplace, often planning cookouts and themed events.
People here are thankful for his work with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Family Support Group.
"My first experience with volunteering was selling candy bars to help a schoolmate suffering from cancer," he said. "I sold my heart out and I never forgot that." He will also never forget the bone crushing hug he received from a terminally ill DLA coworker who accepted a donation from the support group.
Volunteering may be an individual choice, but it takes an entire team to get the job done, according to Lombardo. "I'm grateful for this honor; however, there are a lot of other people responsible for the success of these projects."
For instance, DLA Family Support Group members raised $600 by selling donuts; a cookout netted nearly $2,000. A coat drive kept hundreds of people warm and a cleanup day helped a coworker dealing with medical challenges.
Lombardo said his role models are his parents, Mary and Joe. It was through their selfless actions that their passion for helping others was shared with their children, he said.
Growing up, there were many people in Lombardo's life who believed it was always better to give to those in need. He admits he's an easy mark.
"I can't ignore the people handing out the poppies, drive past the teenagers washing cars or walk past the Girl Scouts selling cookies without helping their cause," he said.
A master of using time wisely, Lombardo is active in the lives of his four children and spouse. "I admit, it's difficult sometimes," he said. "I've learned to prioritize and it helps that my family shares my love for volunteering."
Lombardo's in-laws used to run a corner store and he remembers them giving food to people on credit knowing they could not repay them. "They both still give to people in need. I'm lucky to have these strong influences that to this day guide me and my decisions when volunteering."
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, technology insertion, modification, and global field support to warfighters.
About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.