USAG-HI honors volunteer workforce
May 6, 2011
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and Army Community Service hosted the 2011 Installation Volunteer Ceremony at the Hale Ikena, here, April 28.
Each year during National Volunteer Week, military communities around the world take time to honor their volunteers.
In 2010, USAG-HI volunteers offered time and commitments worth more than $2.5 million, as estimated by independent sector quotes about the average value of a volunteer hour.
"Each year, the people of ACS and the installation devote thousands of man-hours holding and staging events and activities for our Army community," said Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, USAG-HI. "We are recognizing people who live a life of service to others both inside and outside our gates."
This year's theme was "Stars of the Pacific," and volunteers were awarded in eight categories, including Soldier Volunteer of the Year; Spouse Volunteer of the Year; Youth/Young Adult Volunteer of the Year; Civilian Volunteer of the Year; Family Volunteer of the Year; Retiree Volunteer of the Year; Purple Volunteer of the Year, for volunteers from sister services like the American Red Cross; and the Volunteer Ambassador of the Year, for those who go the extra mile to extend their volunteer partnership outside the installation's gates.
Each brigade, community and volunteer agency was asked to submit one volunteer for each category, bringing 33 nominations to the table this year. Nominees received certificates for their selfless sacrifice and valuable volunteer service.
"I was shocked," said Nina Elison, who was named as the Spouse Volunteer of the Year. "I don't choose to volunteer to be recognized, I do it because it's my duty to the community to pay it forward. The Army has blessed me and I want to bless (it) back."
"I was really surprised to have won, and I really love what I do," said Sgt. 1st Class Lameka Drake, senior logistics noncommissioned officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army-Pacific, and recipient of the Soldier Volunteer of the Year award. "In life, you have people and time - the two most important things - and if you lose either one, you cannot get them back."
This past year, Hawaii Army volunteers numbered 1,423, and they logged 115,274 volunteer hours.
"Each of you here tonight have contributed your time to our strong communities - both on and off post - and improved the quality of life for our Soldiers and their families," said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commander, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, during his remarks. "It goes without saying that it would be difficult - if not impossible - for our many Army family programs to offer the variety and quality services that they provide without our dedicated volunteers."
View more photos on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usaghawaii/sets/72157626525749233/.
Volunteer Award Winners
--Family Volunteer of the Year: The Simard Family (Gerry, Margie, Jeremy and Grace)
--Youth/Young Adult Volunteer of the Year: Shaun Toy
--Retiree Volunteer of the Year: Michio Suzuki
--Purple Volunteer of the Year: Brett and Sharon Edgley and their therapy dog, Piko
--Civilian Volunteer of the Year: Ellen Petry
--Volunteer Ambassador of the Year: Maj. Demetrick Thomas, 45th Sust. Brigade, 8th TSC
--Spouse Volunteer of the Year: Nina Elison
--Soldier Volunteer of the Year: Sgt. 1st Class Lameka Drake, HHBN, USARPAC