YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- The army of Volunteers on U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan helps Servicemembers, Families and the entire Community in many ways. The Volunteer of the Year ceremony on April 20 is a reminder of the behind-the-scenes work that goes on all over the garrison every day.

Two lesser known organizations that nevertheless have a huge positive impact on Yongsan are the garrison Religious Support Office and the Korea Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

"Yongsan has the most vibrant and active ministry hub in the entire Army," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jeffrey Hawkins, garrison chaplain for USAG Yongsan. "It has a rich and long history of superb volunteerism and lay-led support. This past year, our congregations donated more than $1.2 million in tithes and offerings and 30,000 volunteer hours.

"One of the more striking service projects was USAG Yongsan's donations for Japan's Tsunami Relief via the Red Cross," Hawkins said. "In just one Sunday, the Chapels of USAG Yongsan donated an amazing $34,000 to the Red Cross specifically for those devastated in Japan by the tragic tsunami."

The outpouring of support is in addition to over $10,000 raised for U.S. disaster relief from last year's tornadoes and hurricanes. Hawkins also highlighted the Chapel's rich history of "bringing Soldiers to God and God to Soldiers" through the annual Faithlift Women's Conference, Spirit Warrior Men's Conference, Youth Summer Camp and ministries to those less fortunate.

No good deed goes unnoticed. And so the Religious Support Office takes the time to show their appreciation for the hard work and dedication their volunteers provide in the name of service.

"Virtually all congregations have their own volunteer recognition events or special Sundays," Hawkins said. "This year we recognized all 143 teachers within the various ministries of USAG Yongsan at our 'Annual Teacher Recognition Banquet'. Their volunteerism alone accounts for more than 10,000 hours each year."

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. also gives back to Yongsan and the rest of the peninsula in a big way. They just celebrated the 31st anniversary of the establishment of their Korea Alumni Chapter on April 7.

"The fraternity has devoted a great deal of its time and resources to aiding Yongsan youth in both educational and recreational services," said Carlos Hill, president of the Korea Alumni Chapter. "Over the past five years, the Korea Alumni chapter of Kappa alpha Psi has provided over 400 volunteer service hours to the USFK and the Korean Community.

"The Korea Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi's most important service program is called Guide Right, " Hill said. "Our Guide Right program encompasses our scholarships, tutorial program, and Kappa Leadership Development League. Under the principles of Guide Right, the Korea Alumni Chapter has developed a program focusing on young men at Seoul American High School and Seoul American Middle School."

Hill highlighted the yearly contributions Kappa Alpha Psi provides to Yongsan youth.
"One initiative of note is that the fraternity, in the last five years, has raised over $55,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors within the Korean DoDEA schools," he said. The fraternity also provides coaches and sponsors youth sport teams on Yongsan."

For more information about the Religious Support Office's programs log on to yongsan.army.korea.mil/RSO or call DSN 315-738-3011. For more information about Kappa Alpha Psi and its service programs, email kappakoreachapter@hotmail.com.

Page last updated Thu April 12th, 2012 at 21:47