By Mr. Derek Gean (Leonard Wood)May 4, 2017
Community members gathered April 26 to celebrate the 2016 contributions of Fort Leonard Wood volunteers during the annual Installation Volunteer Awards Recognition Ceremony.
Rhonda Hutsell, Army Volunteer Corps coordinator, signified the volunteer contributions by presenting a ceremonial check for more than $1.9 million, representing the 80,965 hours volunteers contributed to the installation in 2016.
"We can measure the value of volunteers in so many ways, although we probably can never know the individual impact you have on those who receive the gift of your time," Hutsell said.
Tina Predmore, emcee for the program, said the theme, "All Around the World Army Volunteers: Service for Life," was appropriate, as volunteers around the world were being honored as part of National Volunteer Week, April 23 through Saturday. She said Fort Leonard Wood's volunteers were crucial.
"Our installation relies on volunteers to help support various programs which contribute to the well-being of all military personnel, retirees, Families and civilians," she said.
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, Col. Tracy Lanier, program host, thanked volunteers for their contributions.
"You may not ever know the profound effect you can have on a person's life," Lanier said. "Thank you for giving your time and talents to make Fort Leonard Wood a better place to live, work and play."
Lanier then introduced the keynote speaker, Troy Morgan, Fort Leonard Wood Engineer Museum director.
After retiring from the Army, Morgan quit a "good" civilian job and became a Fort Leonard Wood volunteer. Morgan said with the assistance of Hutsell, he was able to quit a job he "hated" and through volunteerism, he was able to find the "perfect" job
"Rhonda placed me as a volunteer at the Engineer Museum, what became my home, my passion and other than my Family, my true life," Morgan said.
"I spent 14 months at the museum, learning the skills that would eventually qualify me for a paying position. I rose from volunteer to senior paid employee," Morgan said.
Morgan said volunteers were vital to the museum and the installation.
"I am amazed at the commitment of volunteers and the quality of their work," Morgan said. "Thank you volunteers."
Volunteers honored are as follows:
Military Volunteer of the Year
First Sgt. Daniel Eckroth was awarded the Military Volunteer of the Year award. Eckroth provided more than 497 hours of service in 2016 through the youth sports program, Snack in a Pack Program, the education center, and more.
Retiree Volunteer of the Year
Arthur Stone was awarded the Retiree Volunteer of the Year award. Stone has volunteered at the Fort Leonard Wood USO since the beginning. He has given more than 3,000 hours to the organization.
Civilian Volunteer of the Year
Mary Lee McMillan won the Civilian Volunteer of the Year Award. McMillan was honored for her contributions volunteering for the Fort Wood Community Spouses' Club and other community programs, including Snack in a Pack and the Layette Program at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.
Family Volunteer of the Year
Bill, Lisa and Jamie Bennett received the Family Volunteer of the Year Award. The Bennett Family volunteers with installation chapel programs and were honored for their care of the community.
Youth Volunteer of the Year
Daniel Albrecht received the Youth Volunteer of the Year award. Albrecht contributed more than 270 hours of volunteer service, working with programs including the USO, Boy Scouts, Make a Difference Day and coaching wrestling at Waynesville High School.
Angel Award recipients
The following individuals received the Angel Award: Spc. Kelsie Bischoff, Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Bostick, Capt. Aubrey Boswell, Monica Calloway, Mary Dixon, Shelley Emperato, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sharon Farley, Kim Houston, Helen Laird, Jocelyn Morris, Chaplain (Capt.) Mwevi Mwilma, Sgt. 1st Class Shane Parker, Larinda Paulson, Sgt. 1st Class Shane Payne, Sgt. Chad Peterson, Giusy Ruiz, Makenzie Scott, Phyllis Snyder, Staff Sgt. Casandra Strickler, Staff Sgt. Katherine Tokles and Monica Vereen.