By Kalene Lozick, Fort Riley Public AffairsFebruary 12, 2018
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Giving back to the Fort Riley community through volunteerism can be a win-win to those who find joy from their customizable position.
"I found a way to volunteer and give back to Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Billy Thornton III, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, about his volunteer hours.
Throughout his time at 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., he has accumulated more than 5,000 volunteer hours.
Jane Brookshire, Army Community Service program manager, said Thornton received three Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals at the Volunteer of the Quarter ceremony Jan. 30. He received the medals because of his enjoyment of what he does, giving back to his fellow men and women in arms.
"We just have people that say 'hey, we are interested in volunteering,' so they ask what they can do," Brookshire said. "We will ask them what they are interested in because we want to put someone in a position they enjoy and gain useful skills to add to their resume."
A few examples of Thornton's volunteer initiatives include the creation of a fallen comrades and memory wall at the 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., Headquarters building, for which veterans from 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., donated their uniforms worn during Vietnam, WWI and WWII. Old paintings and photographs found in closets throughout the company during various moves were also hung.
With his hobby of woodwork and artifacts, Thornton was able to accumulate volunteer hours by doing something he loves.
"This means a lot to me," he said. "Because it not only honors them, but it gives Soldiers something to see when they enter."
He said the first thing he would recommend to a Soldier, his seniors and his peers at the Senior Leadership Course is to volunteer.
"If you go to myarmyonesource.com and set up an account, which doesn't take long especially if you are military," Thornton said. "You can find your unit, you'll find a representative and you'll almost always find Fort Riley. Once that is done, it will be emailed out to over at ACS, which is our post volunteer coordinator and also your unit coordinator."
Brookshire said in addition to registering at the website, Soldiers need to fill out a sheet of registration form.
No matter one's interest, the team at ACS will connect a Soldier to an organization that will give them skills to add to their resume, Brookshire said.
Thornton said volunteering is as simple as giving back to Soldiers and the community.
"I found a way to volunteer and give back to Soldiers," he said.