Nearly two-dozen Army Reserve ambassadors attended the annual Army Reserve Ambassador Training Workshop here June 5-6.

The workshop was hosted by the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command in order to provide mandatory briefings and updates that will help the ambassadors carry out their mission.

"Thank you for what you do, thank you for the service that most of you had in uniform, and thank you also for being a voice for our all-volunteer force," said Maj. Gen. Margaret W. Boor, 99th RSC commanding general.

The workshop began with an overview briefing from Maj. Gen. Michael R. Smith, deputy chief of Army Reserve. The standardized training agenda included briefings on communications, media engagement, legislative affairs, family programs, ethics and scholarships.

"We want the information we provide to you to be of value in your duties in your state," explained Dave Farmer, Army Reserve Ambassador Strategic Outreach coordinator, who provides administrative support to and oversight of Army Reserve ambassadors throughout the 99th RSC's 13-state region.

The ambassadors also had the opportunity to visit the 99th RSC's Medical Equipment Concentration Site here, one of only two medical ECSs in the Army Reserve.

Following the two-day workshop, the ambassadors had increased their ability to carry out their mission of educating the public, community leaders and congressional staff offices about the capabilities and value of the Army Reserve and its Soldiers.

The Army Reserve Ambassador Program was established in April 1998 for private citizens to develop awareness and advocacy of the Army Reserve with community leaders, and serve as bridges to communities at the state and local level, all without earning salary, wages or other benefits.

Serving in a volunteer status, ambassadors establish open lines of communication within communities to help establish mutually supporting relationships with community leaders and community organizations. They promote support for Soldiers and their Families during deployments and play an active role in facilitating community support through "welcome home" ceremonies and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Not only do they build relationships that improve understanding and awareness of the Army Reserve within the business and civilian sectors, they also work various organizations to highlight key Soldier and Family issues.

While not all Army Reserve ambassadors have military experience, many are retired officers or senior non-commissioned officers who wish to remain engaged in military affairs. Each state and territory has at least one ambassador position.

To learn more about the Army Reserve Ambassador Program, visit http://www.usar.army.mil/Featured/AmbassadorProgram.aspx