By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderJune 12, 2014
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (June 12, 2014) -- Two Fort Jackson volunteers were recently recognized for their efforts by the American Red Cross.
Mary Reardon was named Region East Volunteer of the Quarter, while her daughter, Megan, 15, was named Region East Youth Volunteer of the Quarter and Services to Armed Forces Service Delivery Outstanding Volunteer.
Both are involved with the post's American Red Cross VolunTEEN program.
"I have to say that national headquarters and, I'm sure, the Fort Jackson Red Cross office, are delighted to have you on the team," said Anne Solis, national headquarters services armed forces volunteer adviser for the Red Cross.
The Reardons received their awards during a ceremony on post Friday, with Solis addressing them via telephone from Washington.
"We're even more excited to have you on the team for a while longer, and we hope to hear wonderful things from you further down the road," Solis said.
Mary Reardon, a safety specialist with the Fort Jackson Safety Office, became involved with the post's VolunTEEN program in early 2012 and has worked to provide the group with a sense of military organization. A retired Army major, she started her military career at Fort Jackson in 1982 with Basic Combat Training, returning again in 2000 as a BCT company commander and aide to the commanding general.
Consequently, VolunTEEN meetings now follow the Army format, she said.
"The leadership gets together, prepare slides and make presentations," she said. The volunteers discuss recent actions, as well as events taking place in the near and distant future.
"And Megan has designed a website to provide more information. And if kids miss a meeting they can go there and find out what's going on," Mary Reardon said.
Before volunteering with the post's Red Cross chapter, she said, her experience with the group was limited to donating blood.
"This year, (the volunteers) took the (VolunTEEN) program beyond the gates of Fort Jackson," said Wilfredo Solis, Red Cross station manager for Fort Jackson. "They participated with the local community Red Cross chapter in Columbia. They participated with the USO, as well. Now we can say this is a Red Cross program for the whole community here in the Midlands."
Representatives of the VolunTEEN program participated in the post's influenza preparation event in January, as well as National Fire Prevention week, disaster preparedness presentations at the Post Exchange, and even promoted the Red Cross by marching in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Columbia.
Megan Reardon, a rising sophomore at Ridge View High School, has been a volunteer with the Red Cross since she was in the sixth grade. She served as vice president of the group during the previous school year, but will become its president when the new school year begins in August.
She said her favorite part of the VolunTEEN program are the people involved.
"They have a great attitude," she said. "They just want to help. All of their parents motivate them to be involved."
"Megan is focused, well organized, enthusiastic and competent," said Wilfredo Solis. "She has exceptional oral and written skills and has very strong work ethics. She reports early to set up and prepares discussion points during their monthly meetings. Megan's strong organizational skills, innovation and positive attitude and inclusive nature have contributed greatly to the success of the VolunTEEN program here at Fort Jackson."