By Master Sgt. Tami Hillis, 4th BCT Public AffairsMarch 6, 2009
FORT STEWART, Ga."Volunteers don't necessarily have the time; they have the heart," -- Author unknown.
During the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division's recent deployment, its Family Readiness Groups were put to the test, and some of those groups and Family Members were recognized during a ceremony, Feb. 18 at Fort Stewart.
Soldiers in 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, honored its FRGs and volunteers for their hard work and dedication throughout the 14-month deployment.
"If we don't do recognition ceremonies like this then the volunteers don't know how appreciated they are," said Traci Wheeler, Family Readiness Support Assistant for the squadron.
Usually when the volunteers are recognized and they know they are appreciated they tend to help out more in the future, said Wheeler, who has been the squadron's FRSA for one year.
"We're going to give you a couple of pieces of paper today, but that by no means captures what you have done for our organization," said Col. Thomas James, 4th BCT commander to the volunteers. "You are the heart and soul, life and blood of our organization. Our Soldiers and Troopers go forward and fight to protect our loved ones, our homeland, and they get their energy and drive from all of you."
The FRG program is designed to help keep the Families connected and informed, both when the unit is deployed and at home station. Even though the group is always there for the Families, it is when the Soldier leaves that they are needed the most.
"(The FRG) is the glue of the unit during a deployment," said Ashley Curry, FRG leader of Troop A and wife of Capt. Gregory Curry II.
Two of the keys of a successful FRG are ensuring the Family Members, to include extended Family Members, are kept informed and know there are others out there to assist them if a situation arises, said Wheeler.
"We couldn't do (our job) without you, there's absolutely no way," said Lt. Col. Mark Solomon, squadron commander. "You guys go through so much ... it's a whole lot harder to do what you guys do here."
Curry said she doesn't do volunteer work to get the recognition; it's just what she feels she should do. "I do it because that's my job," said Curry. "I think it's very nice, very appreciative to have this (ceremony) for us and it's not just a piece of paper; it's a 'thank you,' and that means so much."
Volunteer recognition ceremonies to honor hundreds of volunteers are ongoing among units in the Vanguard Brigade.