Volunteer extraordinaire
Michael Campbell

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Alaskans know what it means to volunteer.

According to a recent report from the Corporation for National and Community Service, Alaska is ranked fifth in the nation in giving back with a volunteer rate of 37.3 percent, and the last Last frontier Frontier state came in second nationwide for the average volunteer hours contributed per person.

This is not news to longtime Fairbanks resident and Fort Wainwright civilian employee Michael Campbell who has made volunteering and giving back to his community a way of life and recently received the Alaska Federal Executive Association's Federal Employee of the Year Community Service Award for 2009.

The AFEA, representing tens of thousands of federal employees throughout Alaska, recognizes the top military and civilian employees in the state annually in a variety of categories ranging from citizen leadership to supervisor or manager of the year and numerous categories in between.

Campbell, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation commercial sponsorship and advertising manager, was also named Fort Wainwright's civilian volunteer of the year during the installation's volunteer ceremony in April and said he was surprised and humbled to receive the prestigious awards.

"I was actually beside myself when I found out I was nominated for the (AFEA) award," he said. "And then I find out that I won the civilian volunteer of the year at Fort Wainwright and that just blew my mind. I didn't even know I was nominated for that."

Campbell was nominated for both awards because of his extensive and diverse community service, said M.J. Lohrenz, DFMWR director and nominator for both awards. "With 800 documented volunteer hours accomplished during 2009, Michael Campbell is known throughout the community for his passion to help," she wrote in the nomination package. "Michael spends time serving on various boards of directors, planning and executing events for the community at large and just getting down to the actual task where he may be called up to flip burgers or serve as a VIP greeter. If there is an activity or special event, he will be present."

Campbell's volunteer service includes serving with civic organizations like the Fairbanks Downtown Rotary Club and Aurora Borealis Rotaract Club of Fairbanks, the American Heart Association, Association of the United States Army Polar Bear Chapter, Interior Alaska Leadership Council and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

"He's an all-around super guy. We're all pretty proud of him for the award he's won," said Peggy Pollen, past president, Rotary Club of Fairbanks, and vice president and chief financial officer, NTL Alaska, Inc. "I think Fairbanks is one of the most giving places on the planet. He's done good things for service in our community."

Campbell's volunteerism began at an early age and took root during his college years at UAF.

"I've known Michael for a quite a few years," said Tammy Tragis-McCook, director of Development Outreach for the School of Management, UAF. "Michael is always down for helping when he is most needed. And not only would he show up, he would bring friends. It was sort of (two-fold) for him. He did it because it was fun - wherever Michael goes he makes fun - and because he wanted to give back. He felt it was important to give back to the community, spend that time and teach others about it."

Campbell has a special place in his heart for community service affecting youth and minority youth in particular. He also volunteered with the Armed Services YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tanana Valley, Filipino-American Society of Fairbanks and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations.

"I just love my community," Campbell said. "I am a direct reflection of my community and my upbringing. The fact that I can better my community means a lot to me."

He credits his childhood and specifically his mother's influence for his desire to give back to his community.

"I don't volunteer for recognition," he said. "I give back because of what I learned at home. My mom was an immigrant and my dad was in the Air Force. We weren't the richest people, but we always gave back to the community."

Campbell's work at Fort Wainwright is a natural complement for his love of community service, he said.

His work often takes him into the community, building partnerships between community businesses and Fort Wainwright's DFMWR mission of providing events and services for the Army family.

"My favorite part of my job is when we're at events and I can see the direct impact I have on the event and products and services that MWR has," he said. "You can see it on their faces.
Whatever we can add to the event to enhance the experience for Soldiers, families, retirees and civilians, whether it's giving away prizes or T-shirts or gift cards, we're there to support them."

Campbell's goal is to continue serving his community and making a difference in the lives of others, particularly young people who need mentors and may have not yet discovered the value of community service.

"He's really an extraordinary individual," Tragis-McCook said. "Some people don't get into the community spirit at such an early age, but Mike has really embraced it."

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