By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderApril 21, 2014
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (April 17, 2014) -- Fort Jackson celebrated the efforts of volunteers last week with a reception recognizing outstanding achievements in 2013.
"This would not be the community that it is without all of you volunteering your time," Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker, Fort Jackson commanding general, told Friday's gathering at the Solomon Center. More than 1,000 volunteers donated approximately 115,000 hours last year to make the post a better place, he said.
"What makes it so special is that it's our family members, service members, retirees and our civilian workforce (volunteering) here at Fort Jackson," he said. "Everybody is contributing to make Fort Jackson a better place to live and work, and making the Columbia-Midlands area a better place to live. I'm inspired by what you do, and I'm grateful for what you do."
During the reception, the post named volunteers of the year in a variety of categories, ranging from active duty military to youth. Each nominee was selected by a volunteer organization or by a unit for having contributed "exceptional volunteer service" to Fort Jackson for two or more years.
Recognized during last week's event were:
Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductees
Juan Rivera-Borges, nominated by the Main Post Chapel
Why he was nominated: "Our volunteer has diligently worked at the Main Post Chapel since 1988. He helps to organize, facilitate and clean up after every liturgical and social activity. He is a consummate team player and makes tough tasks look easy."
Colleen Briggs, nominated by Moncrief Army Community Hospital
Why she was nominated: "(She) has recorded over 2,200 hours of volunteer service since March 2012. Over two thirds of her documented hours have been as leader of the Moncrief Army Community Hospital Family Readiness Group."
Sgt. 1st Class Jerald Briggs, nominated by Moncrief Army Community Hospital
Why he was nominated: "As the president for the MACH Sergeants Association, he has rallied support for and directly participated in Families Helping Families, Veterans Stand Down, the Literacy Fair, Spring Jamboree, Habitat for Humanity, the Penny Carnival, Wreaths Across America, the St. Patty's Day Parade, the Special Olympics, a mentorship program at C.C. Pinckney for both Wednesday Walkers and the STEM Club, and various other events that positively impact Fort Jackson families and the local community."
Lauri Duke, nominated by the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment
Why she was nominated: "(She) is an exceptional volunteer family member. She took on the role of FRG leader for Bravo Company soon after she and her family arrived at Fort Jackson and the later as the Foxtrot FRG leader when her Soldier spouse took on a new position."
Tina Justice, nominated by the 193rd Infantry Brigade
Why she was nominated: "While leading her battalion Family Readiness Group, Tina recognized the need for the families of basic training to have a useable knowledge of Army life and culture. (She) recognized the unique opportunity to reach out to basic training families during the 10 weeks they are separated from the Soldiers in training, introduced them to family readiness groups, managed their expectations and empowered them with skills they need to become resilient Army families through Army Family Team Building."
John Marcucci, nominated by the 171st Infantry Bridage
Why he was nominated: "He is a retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps and he spends his time now taking care of Soldiers, their families, fellow veterans and anyone he comes across. Our nominee is a key member of multiple volunteer organizations that make a direct impact on the community and others."
Mary Reardon, nominated by the American Red Cross: Service to the Armed Forces
Why she was nominated: "(She) has been an invaluable volunteer to our Red Cross program. She took responsibility as the Youth Chairman of the American Red Cross School Year VolunTeen program and has served on the Station Advisory Council since January 2012. She has taken the program from a simple youth program to a 30-member, self-governing, extremely active volunteer youth program that performs community service not just here at Fort Jackson, but in the Columbia community, as well."
Debbie Yackley, nominated by the G-3
Yackley was a senior adviser to the commanding general from 2012 until 2014, and also served on the Commanding General's Family Readiness Steering Committee, was a Senior Leader's Spouses FRG adviser and Victory Spouses Club honorary president, and volunteered in other leadership positions on post.
Retiree Volunteer of the Year: Bob Bell, nominated by the American Red Cross
Why he was nominated: "(Bell) is a very dedicated Red Cross Hospital Chair at Moncrief Army Community Hospital. He took responsibility to oversee the activities and management of the volunteer program and is currently supervising 58 volunteers. Bell recruits, trains and places all new volunteers in a timely manner at various departments or clinics at the hospital."
Active Duty Military Volunteer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Scott Wangsness, 171st Infantry Brigade, nominated by Girl Scouts Service Unity 646
Why he was nominated: "(He) has done exceptional work with Girl Scout Cadet Troop 940. Staff Sgt. Scott Wangsness, whose daughter is a member of our troop, is not only a registered Girl Scout, but he has taken time from his busy schedule with his active duty unit and his commitment of time with Boy Scouts, to go to the appropriate training sessions ... to obtain the certification and permission to participate in our girl scout activities."
Youth Volunteer of the Year: Ava Rose Medina, nominated by Fort Jackson American Red Cross VolunTeens
Why she was nominated: "(Ava) has been an active member of the School Year Fort Jackson Red Cross VolunTeens for the past two years. Ava is very intelligent, poised, articulate, well organized and competent. She has a very strong work ethic."
Family Member/Civilian Volunteer of the Year: Tina Justice, nominated by the 193rd Infantry Brigade
Why she was nominated: "(She) is an exceptional volunteer and community leader." Justice also helped to launch the Facebook Army Family Team Building project during the past year