Army families recognized, honored for volunteerism
November 25, 2008
Twenty Army families were honored for their contributions to the community during the annual Families of the Year Awards ceremony Wednesday at the MG Robert B. Solomon Center.
The awards ceremony was just one part of Military Family Week, said Marilynn Bailey, Army Community Services volunteer corps coordinator.
"What we do at Fort Jackson is take a week and celebrate our families," she said. "The awards honor those families who have made exemplary contributions to the Fort Jackson community and the surrounding area."
Each year, Fort Jackson's various units and organizations have the opportunity to nominate families who meet three criteria: individual growth, love and teamwork and friendship and service. All nominations are endorsed by the colonel-level commander of each unit or organization.
During last week's ceremony, children, parents -- and even grandparents -- were acknowledged by Brig. Gen. Bradley W. May, Fort Jackson commanding general, for their contributions.
"This is a big deal today. It's a big deal because Army families mean so much to this installation and to Jan and me personally," May said, referencing his wife.
"Military families are the unsung heroes who make an amazing contribution during a time when we find ourselves at war," he added. "Military families know that military service is not just a job, it's a lifestyle."
Besides the public recognition, families received a plaque, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service gift certificate and coupons, a fruit basket, a box of popcorn and the basics for a turkey dinner, including the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. The awards were provided by the event's sponsors: AAFES, the Defense Commissary Agency and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Despite the individual recognition, Bailey said the ceremony is something that benefits everyone.
"A lot of times, we don't know the contributions families make to the community," she said. "A once-a-year recognition is good, I think, for the entire community. It raises the morale of the entire Army family."
Sgt. 1st Class Ron Doiron, his wife, Wendy, and their three children, were among those honored as Families of the Year. The Warrior Transition Unit Soldier said the experience was humbling.
"It's nice to be recognized," he said. "I like doing what I do, (Wendy) likes doing what she does. The whole family volunteers in some way or another in the community."
He said he volunteers with the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, while his wife serves as the WTU Family Readiness Group leader and Boy Scouts treasurer.
Their 15-year-old daughter, Jessica, volunteers at the Thrift Shop and 12-year-old Kyle volunteers with the Boy Scouts.
Even Ronny, the couple's 19 month old, does his part, says his mom.
"The little one donates his cuteness to everyone," she said, laughing.
2008 Fort Jackson
Families of the Year
Sgt. Nicholas Arnold and spouse, Kristi
Children: Autumn (9), Devin (6), Jacob Dylan (3), Nicholas (1)
Staff Sgt. Kandee Bennett and 1st Sgt. Anthony Bennett
Children: Whitney (13), Marcus (12), Ashleigh (6), Dorothy Metz (Mother)
Sgt. 1st Class Randal Bitz and spouse, Eugenia
Children: Brittany (17), Kaley (14), Kelsey (11), Bradley (7)
1st Lt. Ty-Salaam and spouse, Shannon
Children: Tyona (7)
Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Butler and spouse, Donna
Children: Breona (10), Keona (10)
Staff Sgt. Robert M. Cooley and spouse, Andrea
Children: Robbie (12), Hannah (7)
Sgt. 1st Class Ron Doiron and spouse, Wendy
Children: Jessica (15), Kyle (12), Ronny (19 months)
1st Lt. Brite Donkor and spouse, Juliet
Children: Briston (22), Chris (17), Emmanuel (11), Paul (4)
Capt. Gina Ferguson and spouse, Steven
Children: Job (8), Myles (6)
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Fernandes and Staff Sgt. Siesa Fernandes
Children: Jayden (1)
Sgt. 1st Class Sarah Haas and spouse, David
Children: Rachael (2)
Sgt. Quentin Galloway-Hilliard and spouse, Kevin
Children: Jordan (1)
1st Sgt. Patrick Lisbon and Sgt. 1st Class Cindy Lisbon
Children: Patience (2)
Master Sgt. Richard Lopez and spouse, Briselle
Children: Brimalis (17), Lizmarie (16)
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael E. Kinzie and spouse, June
Children: Toni Scott (30) married to Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Scott, Ft Benning, Ga., Jerri Kinzie (26), Spc. Michael Kinzie (23), spouse Sgt. Lekishia Kinzie, Ft Carson, Co., Jessica Kinzie (11)
Chaplain (Capt.) David Morrison and spouse, Julie
Children: Frances (3)
Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy Oates and spouse Donna
Children: Shannon (14), Jaliyah (11), Kianan (8), Kaynoi Rose (2)
Staff Sgt.Toby Samsal and spouse, Bonny
Children: Mikaila (13), Noah (9), Angel (5)
Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Thomas and spouse, Judy
Children: Anthony (16), Michael (8)
Maj. Chris Woody and spouse, Rhonda
Children: Tanner (13), Rachael (10), Morgan (8), Eli (7)