The gift of giving at Fort Bragg: Volunteer coordinator inspired by goodness
February 6, 2009
Mohammed Ali once said, "Service to others is the payA,Ament you make for your space here on Earth." Luckily for Soldiers and their Families at Fort Bragg, there are people here who share that same mentality with Ali. Lisa Kotson, a native of Athens, Ga., began volunteerA,Aing four years ago at the Armed Services YMCA and has became the volunteer coordinator, a paid position, two years ago. "Freedom does have a price, and I try to earn mine by helping others in any way that I can," said Kotson. These days Kotson is known as the volunteer coorA,Adinator for the ASYMCA. "My job as the volunteer coordinator is when groups call and tell me they want to do something to help out, I will work to find the best suitA,Aed program for that individA,Aual or group so they can enjoy themselves as they help," explained Kotson. Kotson said she learned from her mother at an early age that there is nothing more rewarding in this life than the art of giving and helping out those in need. "The goodness of volunteerA,Aing is what inspires me to volA,Aunteer," she said. "That feelA,Aing of giving and helping othA,Aers is so rewarding." Kotson said when she first came to Fort Bragg, she began volunteering through the Baby Bundles program at the ASYMCA, a program, which proA,Avides a newA,Aborn gift bag to active-duty Soldiers and Airmen, EA,A4 and below at the hospital. "Back when I first started volunteering here at the ASYMCA, I was helping with the Baby Bundles proA,Agram when I walked into this room where this young girl and baby were both crying," Kotson remembered. "The girl was so upset because she was all alone, her husband was deployed at the time, and she had no way of telling him their child had been born. She was just having a really bad day. So I sat down and held the baby, trying to calm both of them down while letting them know they weren't alone." Now Kotson is in charge of the Baby Bundle program which in the last year delivA,Aered more than 1,500 gift bags to Soldiers and Airmen's wives. Besides Kotson's work with the Baby Bundles program, she is also involved in the Mother/ Daughter Tea and Fashion Show in March, folA,Alowed by the Healthy Kid's Day in April, as well as the upcoming Soldier's Golf Event and the Kid Olympics Day later this year. "Lisa is a 'whip a whirl' ... she never stops," said Lynne M. Grates, the ASYMCA execA,Autive director. "She just goes and goes and would give you the shirt right off her back." When Kotson isn't busy working at the ASYMCA, and being the wife of a 82nd paraA,Atrooper, she packs up her baseball bat and glove and heads out to coach two youth baseball teams. "It's my obligation as a citiA,Azen to give and to do, part of being an American is helping each other out," Kotson said. Another big part of Kotson's ongoing work at the ASYMA,ACA is her ability to recruit new volunteers, because without those volunteers none of the programs or events would be possible. "Lisa is so dedicated," said Grates. "She will do anything you ask of her and she truly really does love her work." After meeting several of Kotson's co-volunteers, and spending a brief morning with her, it was easy to see how fortunate Fort Bragg is to have her here, helping the community. "Goodness grows if people are good and they do good things that will grow into your community making it a better place to live," said Kotson with a smile.