Brig. Gen. Bryan Roberts presents the Youth Volunteer of the Year award to Cody Gorski during the April 20 Volunteers of the Year ceremony at the Solomon Center. Gorski is one of hundreds of volunteers who donate their time and talents to serve the community.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- It's no secret that it takes more than effective leaders to successfully run an installation and support a military community; Fort Jackson is no exception. It's also no secret that our unselfish volunteers are a key component of our success. This post could not function without the time and labor provided to us by our numerous volunteers.

Volunteerism is a habit seen by some as old-fashioned. The Internet has made life easier in many ways, but it has also put more distance between the individuals living in communities. When you don't have to leave home to rent a movie, buy pet food or even pay your bills, it makes it that much easier to lose track of the needs of your neighbors.

Lucky for us, we've never had to find out what might happen if our dedicated corps of volunteers decided to focus their attentions elsewhere. The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well at Fort Jackson. It's a beautiful thing and something we need to take the time to properly recognize. When you consider how transient military communities can be, this is no small achievement. We're so blessed with such an abundance of volunteers from every unit and organization -- as well as from outside our gates -- that the post's annual tradition of recognizing these folks requires a broad variety of categories. I had the pleasure of meeting and recognizing many of these selfless people during an April 20 ceremony. The volunteers included retirees, active duty Soldiers, military Family members, young people, and a number of men and women inducted into Fort Jackson's "Volunteer Hall of Fame." These people did not ask for these awards. They've never asked us for money, praise or favors. In fact, they've never asked us for anything.

Among this cohort of volunteers was Cody Gorski, a young man who participates in Fort Jackson's VolunTEEN program. Not content to spend his days updating his Facebook status, Cody donated 90 hours this past year to such activities as manning a Red Cross booth during Armed Forces Day events at Hilton Field, teaching children proper hygiene through the Scrubby the Bear program, and even participating in Same Day Surgery activities at Moncrief Army Community Hospital, where he was trusted enough to be the only teen allowed to observe surgery.

Volunteerism is one of the characteristics that define a community and helps us achieve our Team Jackson Vision and focus on People. I could not be more proud of all our volunteers who make a tremendous impact all over this post. Without your tireless support and spirit of giving we could not assist our military Family -- or our community partners. This past weekend's world class South Carolina Special Olympics event once again demonstrated the generosity of Team Jackson. My thanks to all who helped make the event so memorable for every athlete and family who participated.

If you've had any kind of need for services and support on post, chances are you've met some of our community volunteers and didn't even know it. They don't like to call attention to themselves -- true selfless servants; they just want to help wherever they are needed. They take time out of their schedules to be there for their neighbors, Soldiers and Families and they're sacrificing a part of their lives to make Fort Jackson the best duty station, post, community and unit its team members have ever served.

If you see these volunteers on post, I would ask that you take the time to thank them for what they do for our community. Victory Starts Here with our Volunteers! Victory 6.

Page last updated Thu May 10th, 2012 at 09:59