<b><i>Volunteer Appreciation Week honors commitment of selfless individuals</i></b>

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - More than 25 community volunteers, senior spouses and garrison leadership rallied together the morning of April 20 to kick off the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI) Volunteer Appreciation Week activities with a special breakfast and shopping event at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Main Exchange, here.

In this instance, the volunteers weren't here to give, but instead, to receive "thanks" in the form of a VIP shopping spree, giveaways and prizes at the post exchange (PX).

As the group enjoyed breakfast, Tracey Clark, Army Community Service (ACS), Army Volunteer Corps coordinator, announced the activities that would take place to honor volunteers this week.

"A free movie, bowling, a 'Price is Right' breakfast event, with an opportunity to win a two-night stay at the Pililaau Army Recreation Center and discount shopping (are available)," she announced, receiving cheers from the crowd.

With more than 800 registered volunteers, Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 20-23, began this year to expand the garrison's efforts to recognize individuals who devote their time to support Army Soldiers and families.

Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, USAG-HI, said the sacrifices and efforts of our volunteers need to be recognized beyond the annual garrison ceremony.

"Army families, Army spouses, Army Soldiers, have always come forward to volunteer their time and effort in support of our families and communities. Because the Army provides more services to our Soldiers and families than ever before, we have to rely on volunteers," said Margotta.

Prior to the shopping event, Lisa McCaffrey, senior family readiness group advisor, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and a volunteer, spoke to the group, thanking them for their service. She reflected on volunteerism and the 2009 theme for the week, "Volunteer to Change the World."

"Most of us that volunteer love to be the givers, not the receivers," McCaffrey said.

"Volunteerism is a love made visible and it changes lives, it changes communities, and it can change the world. And you all have done that," McCaffrey continued. "I hope you enjoy all these opportunities this week."

Prizes were drawn, and true to volunteerism, no one went home empty handed.

Just before the AAFES doors opened, Clark called out, "And, don't forget to pick up a button." Clark reminded the volunteers to proudly display their volunteer button all week so community members can identify them and say "thanks."

The week's activities came to a close at the annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, April 23, at the Hale Ikena, Fort Shafter.

The events, organized by ACS, Clark and senior spouses, were sponsored by AAFES and the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA).

<i>(Editors Note: See the May 1 edition of the Hawaii Army Weekly for more coverage of volunteer accomplishments.)</i>

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16