JURY BOX
Tax Center ceremony participants include, from left, in the front row, volunteer Gunner Wallis, volunteer Sandra Hovde, volunteer Gregory Knight, Sgt. Brandon Clarett, Staff Sgt. Billy Aaron and Harold Pickens, Birmingham IRS office's relationship manager for Redstone. In the back row are officer-in-charge Capt. Derek Eichholz, Birmingham IRS office's Elaine Beck, lead volunteer Randy Duff, volunteer Min Wallace, volunteer Emily Hsi and volunteer Paul Pickett.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- All that was missing was a judge. But the verdict was never in doubt.

With the courtroom as the venue, the Redstone Tax Center held its closing ceremony April 21 after another year of providing free tax preparation services for active duty military, reservists on active duty for more than 29 days, retired military and their family members.

You be the judge on these numbers from tax year 2009:

Aca,!Ac Total returns, 3,899, including 2,039 federal and 1,860 state.
Aca,!Ac Federal refunds, $2,505,476, and state refunds, $765,079.
Aca,!Ac Savings to the community by avoiding tax preparation fees, $597,342.

"It went great," Tax Center manager Rachael Yeoman said. "It went really good."

The center exceeded its goal of 3,600 returns and surpassed the 3,402 total from 2008.

"Thank you for doing thousands of returns," Col. Craig Meredith, the Redstone staff judge advocate, told the center's volunteers.

"I'm really proud of what you all have accomplished," AMCOM chief counsel Fred Allen said.

"We received nothing but good comments," Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli said. "We appreciate your hard efforts day in and day out. It didn't go unnoticed."

Pastorelli presented certificates and other awards to the workers. Elaine Beck, from the Internal Revenue Service office in Birmingham, also presented certificates. She serves as the IRS territory manager for stakeholder partnerships, education and communication.

"I truly believe Redstone really leads the nation. They do have a model site," Beck said. "It's a real model for the military volunteer."

Maj. Kathleen Kelly, deputy staff judge advocate, said Yeoman had a full year. Besides serving as the center's manager, Yeoman sometimes had to assume the role of "quasi officer-in-charge," answer the phone (because there's no full-time receptionist), and prepare taxes, Kelly said.

"She really did a phenomenal job," Kelly said. "I came in here one Saturday and she was sitting here doing taxes with her 18-month-old daughter (Kendall) on her lap. That's the kind of dedication she brings to the tax center."

The staff included Randy Duff, Dave Wyatt, Estan Rodriguez, Gunner Wallis, Lee Smith, Brenda Jemison, Emily Hsi, Kay Theodoss, Annie Casanova, Lancelot Latouche, Sandra Hovde, Paul Pickett, Gregory Knight, Min Wallace, Cathie Wright, Karen Pearson, Sun Morgan, Larry Howell, Sgt. Brandon Clarett, Staff Sgt. Billy Aaron, Gerald Henrichsen, officer-in-charge Capt. Derek Eichholz and alternate officer-in-charge Capt. Stephen Smith.

Page last updated Fri April 30th, 2010 at 15:11