Volunteer program saves APG half-a-million
May 17, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - For selfless service to something greater than themselves over the past year, 44 Aberdeen Proving Ground volunteers were honored for their service to the installation and the surrounding community during the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony at the Aberdeen North recreation center May 5.
Garrison Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades led the presentation of awards to the honorees. The winners by category were Spc. Carlos Rios, Military; Terri Jenkins, Civilian; Erika Owens, Family Member; David Correll III, Youth; and Joe Ferraro, Retiree.
Michael Lupacchino, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, emceed the ceremony which was organized by Tina Helmick, Army Community Service Volunteer program manager.
On behalf of the installation, Lupacchino expressed gratitude to all volunteers and said each would receive a Certificate of Appreciation. The winners of each category also received Garrison commander's coins.
Tina said the installation has 693 volunteers.
"From youth to senior, all serve unselfishly and are deserving of award," she said.
Ortiz compared the volunteers to the Minute Men Soldiers of the American Revolution, noting, "Volunteer Soldiers came into the ranks to secure our independence."
"Our nation was made great due to volunteer service and this installation is made great by what you do for us," he said. "Our youth are watching, observing and participating. We thank you for your service and I am proud to serve as your Garrison commander."
Ortiz, Rhoades and the winners posed with a giant "check" for $502,797.75, indicating the dollars volunteers saved the installation over the past year, and then performed a joint cake cutting of the Volunteer Recognition cake.
"When it comes to volunteers, it's a win-win situation," Ortiz said in closing. "We appreciate and respect your dedication to something other than yourselves and we are truly grateful.
Lupacchino thanked Tina, the ACS staff, the Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization and all others who assisted in organizing the recognition ceremony.
"Thanks especially to all volunteers for everything you've done for APG," he said.
In addition to the volunteers, Ortiz and Rhoades presented Certificates of Appreciations to organizations that serve APG and the surrounding community; some of which are made up of all volunteers. They included the Freestate ChalleNGe Academy, the Gunpowder Neck and Spesutie Island Marinas, the Skeet and Trap Range, the Bowman's Club, Directorate of Emergency Services, the Thrift Shop, the Military and Civilian Souses' Club and Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers.
Capt. Jonathan Morse, Garrison Chaplain, presented the invocation and Michael Cashman of the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, sang the national anthem.
The winners were all surprised by their selection.
"It was very surprising," said Erika Owens, a Family member who serves 40 hours a week at the Bowling Center. "It's not about getting rewarded, the best part is giving back to others," she said.
Terri Jenkins, a logistics management specialist with the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and winner of the civilian employee category, volunteers as a youth sports coach with Child, Youth and School services. She said she has volunteered more than 20 years and noted that this is her second award.
"Seeing how the kids grow and progress is the most rewarding part of all this," she said. "I want to thank my command for their support in everything I do.
Spc. Carlos Rios, who won the Military category for his leadership of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, thanked his fellow Soldiers and the Garrison for their "tireless energy in building BOSS into the program it has become."
"All BOSS programs [in the Army] have the same values," Rios said, "but not all use the same avenue of approach. Ours is more focused on the community. The best part is the feeling you have knowing you've helped improved someone's life."
He noted that the BOSS Soldiers begin their second season volunteering with the League of Dreams baseball program for special needs children with the first practice this Saturday, May 14, at Churchville Elementary School.
"When you care and give to those in need, the impact is a lot greater," he said.
Youth category winner David Correll III, the son of Ruggles Golf Course golf pro David Correll said winning "felt good."
"The best part is parking the carts," he said," and I've made friends out there too."
"It's a good environment for young people," the senior Correll added. "He's surrounded by older people that he can learn from while he's learning the value of giving."
Col. Richard "Thunder" Young, commandant of the ChalleNGe Academy commended Sgt. Sandy Lewis who coordinated the cadet volunteer program.
"She's done a great job keeping our youth involved and focused on giving back to the community," Young said. "A bright future starts with our youth."
To view or download photos from the May 5 ceremony, visit www.flickr.com/photos/usagapg/