By Karen A. Iwamoto, Hawaii Army Weekly, U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiApril 17, 2015
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Connecting, making a difference in the community, helping -- there are many reasons for volunteering.
Amanda Crowell provides a snapshot of one person, contributing, making a difference.
On a drizzly Monday morning, this week, Crowell arrived at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy to talk about volunteering and making a difference to a group of NCOs.
Crowell isn't a Soldier or an Army civilian employee. She's a volunteer program manager for Army Community Service's Army Family Team Building program.
"Volunteering is one way for me to keep my resume active," she said. "But the real reason I do it is because I really believe in this program and what it does. I believe it really helps Army families and new Army spouses learn (the basics) of Army life, such as protocol and the chain of command."
-- Getting involved
With Crowell were Chantay Burleson and Mary Kay McGlothlin, both of whom also volunteer for various ACS programs. They were there to observe Crowell's briefing as a way to prepare themselves for eventually delivering similar briefings.
Burleson, who has been volunteering for more than 20 years in various capacities for the Army and is currently the volunteer unit adviser for the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, said that volunteering connects her to her Army community and makes her feel like she's making a difference.
"A lot of people talk about things that need to be changed," she said. "I like to get involved and help. Get out there and do something about it."
McGlothlin said she has made friends and learned Army terminology through her volunteer work -- the latter of which has helped her to communicate more effectively with her Soldier husband.
"But the best thing is knowing the volunteer work I do makes a positive difference in the lives of everyone I help," she said. "The rest is a bonus."
Crowell, Burleson and McGlothlin were among more than a dozen volunteers to receive a prestigious Na Koa Award at the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, Tuesday morning, at the Nehelani. Combined, the three of them donated more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time to various U.S. Army-Hawaii programs in 2014.
They, and other volunteers at the ceremony, were recognized by Maj. Gen. Charles Flynn, senior commander of USARHAW.
"You inspire and you provide an example for others to follow, so (they) will also volunteer," Flynn said. "You are looking to give and not to get."
He described the volunteers as "role models" who shine a light on others and encouraged other commands and organizations within USARHAW to recognize their volunteers often, not just annually.
"It's an honor to be recognized. It's humbling because you don't do it for the recognition; you do it to give back," said Burleson.
After the formal ceremony, volunteers and guests headed next door to the Nehelani Banquet Hall, where they were treated to a Volunteer Appreciation Luau. The menu included local staples, such as kalua pork, chicken long rice, white rice and sliced pineapple. Hula dancers from Wahiawa Studio II performed.
Among those at the luau was 90-year-old Whitey Yamamoto, who has volunteered at the U.S. Army Museum for 27 years -- the longest of any of the museum's volunteers, according to the museum's director, Judith Bowman.
Yamamoto, a veteran of the 442nd Infantry Regiment who greets guests at the museum, said he enjoys volunteering because it allows him to interact with interesting people from all over the world.
Said Bowman, "We could not effectively function without our volunteers. We would not be able to get our doors open without them. In 2014, our volunteers worked over 4,000 hours at everything from the reception desk to giving guided tours to helping to restore artifacts."
Bill Lofquist, U.S. Army Museum Hawaii's 2014 Volunteer of the Year, echoed Yamamoto's sentiment about meeting interesting people at the museum and said that, while he prides himself on being active in all aspects of his community, "the volunteer work I do for the museum is the most fun."
-- Make Contact
Call the Schofield Barracks ACS office at (808) 655-4227. Register with the Army's Volunteer Management Information System by visiting Army OneSource.