By Candateshia Pafford, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsApril 21, 2013
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 22, 2013) -- Camp Zama's outstanding youth and adult volunteers of the year were recognized at the installation's annual volunteer recognition ceremony held April 18 at the Camp Zama Community Club here.
Lorenzo Cardenas, nominated by the Red Cross, was named the Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year; and Crystal Ryan, nominated by the Zama Community Spouses' Association, was named the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.
Other volunteers recognized included Pamela Miller, nominated by the 441st Military Intelligence Battalion, who was named the Merited Volunteer of the Year; and Staff Sgt. Stanislav Lovtsov, nominated by the U.S. Army Japan Band, who was named the Honored Volunteer of the Year.
Ryan said she enjoys volunteering because it enhances community morale, and she believes many programs wouldn't happen without the aid of volunteers.
"We are so far from home and away from our families and friends," said Ryan. "It is important to build those relationships in this little community that has become like our second home."
Ryan has been a Camp Zama volunteer for nearly two years and said her family is actively involved as well. Ryan's son is a member of the local Boy Scout troop, and her husband attends many volunteer programs of his own, she said.
"We have a lot of fun [volunteering] as a family and enjoying our community," said Ryan.
The intent of the volunteer recognition ceremony is to draw the community together to take the time recognize the volunteers for the contributions they make for their community said Yolanda Hingel, the Army Community Service community life officer here.
"It also instills a commonality of our working force, volunteer force, spouses and military personnel and let them know what they do, big or small, it impacts and makes a difference in our community," Hingel said.
The ceremony is also an important way to show the community the value of volunteers, Hingel added.
Camp Zama's volunteer program has nearly 640 current members, more than 160 of which attended the recognition ceremony.
Camp Zama holds its volunteer recognition ceremony as a kick-off to Volunteer Recognition Week, which is always during April.
After dinner and recognition of the USO and commercial sponsors, U.S. Garrison Japan Commander Col. Eric D. Tilley provided remarks and helped present the awards.