FORT STEWART, GA --The spirit of partnership was exhibited Oct. 12 as Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas met with representatives from Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, and local community members signed a proclamation naming Oct. 25 as Make a Difference Day in Hinesville.

Thomas said whereas serious social problems concerning the nation threaten its future; and connecting with others and working together through volunteer service can bridge the differences that separate people and help solves those problems.

The proclamation said volunteer centers have joined to promote an annual national day of doing good that celebrates and strengthens the spirit of volunteer service.

"Volunteer service is an investment in the future we all must share," Thomas said. His sentiments were shared by community members who attended the signing to show their support. Those in attendance came from civic groups like the Veterans Council, Hinesville Board of Realtors, Winn Army Community Hospital, and Army Community Services.

Vickie Wiginton, ACS Volunteer Coordinator said there were many opportunities where individuals could 'Make a Difference' in the local area, like the Senior Citizen Center in Hinsville; the Rebuilding Together - Savannah project; Liberty County's Manna House, the Liberty County Humane Shelter; and Gabriel's House.

The Marne Division also proclaimed Oct. 20-25 as the 3ID Week of Volunteerism in support of Make A Difference Day with 15 major community projects throughout the Savannah and Hinesville areas. Soldiers and Family members linked forces to demonstrate reciprocating support and give back to the local communities for all the support provided to Soldiers and their Families during deployments.

Among the efforts, the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade help support the Economic Opportunity Authority for Savannah/Chatham County Area at the Wesley Center, Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Savannah Baptist Church; the Salvation Army. In that effort Soldiers also help deliver collected food items.

Also helping in Savannah, the 554th Company, 92nd Engineer Battalion participated with Rebuilding Together - Savannah, as nearly 30 Soldiers helped repair a low-income house.

Although the Liberty County Fall Fest was postponed to Nov. 1, Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 9th Field volunteered to assist with hayrides, climbing wall, kiddy rides and costume contest.

Brigitte Shanken, volunteer coordinator for Winn Army Community Hospital with the support of her husband, Jimmy, signed on to help at Gabriel's House, a non-profit Foster Care Facility in Hinesville for newborn children to 17-year-olds.

Lieutenant Colonel Greg Sierra, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment Commander and Maria Eggers 2/7 Family Readiness Support Advisor also signed on to help at Gabriel's house with the more than 40 Soldier-volunteers to help - living up to the unit's motto, "Willing and Able."

The 4th Brigade Combat Team helped the United Way-Keep Liberty County Beautiful as about 20 Soldiers conducted clean-up efforts at Jones Creek in Midway, Islands Highway Marshes in Midway, Midway Fire Department and a portion of Highway 17 in Midway.

First Battalion, 41st Field Artillery jumped in to lend a helping hand at the Fort Stewart Family Readiness Center, helping clean up and assisted with beautification projects.

Special Troops Battalion assisted Helen's Haven Shelter for Abuse Women with about 10 Soldiers conducting maintenance, beautification projects including building an office wall and vinyl flooring.
In addition, 3rd Brigade Support Battalion also lent their support to the Second Harvest Food Bank, collecting food and stocking shelves at the center.

But assistance wasn't limited to humans, as Troops from 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry provided assistance at the Liberty County Humane Shelter Oct. 24, Helping with animal care, facility maintenance, equipment repair and cleaning.

Editors Note: Contributing information provided by Vickie Wigginton, Army Community Services; and Kevin Larson, Chief, Public Information.