By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 1, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Volunteers play vital roles on any military installation, and Fort Rucker is no different.
That's why Fort Rucker makes sure its volunteers are recognized during quarterly ceremonies for the services they provide on and off the installation, and officials want to make sure no volunteer goes unnoticed.
Submissions for volunteers of the quarter are typically due around the last day of each quarter, said Dolores Nabe, Army Community Service volunteer.
Deadlines for each quarter are March 30 for the second quarter, July 2 for the third quarter and Oct. 1 for the fourth quarter. To be eligible, Nabe said volunteers of the quarter need only active volunteer service to be recognized. "For volunteers of the quarter, it's not about the hours, but about meaningful recognition of the volunteers on an ongoing basis."
The volunteer hours can be gained either on or off post, but the hours must be tracked, she added, and depending on the agency, units may submit between one to three volunteers.
Brigades, tenant commands and U.S. Army Garrison may submit up to three volunteers per quarter, and authorized private organizations on post may submit one submission per quarter. Additional submissions may be recognized on a space-available basis, said Nabe.
Submission forms can be found at https://rucker.armymwr.com/programs/army-volunteer-corps under the Fort Rucker Volunteer of the Quarter Awards tab. In addition to the form, a brief description of the individual's volunteer experience is required.
For the quarterly ceremonies, anyone who is nominated and deemed appropriate will be recognized, but volunteers of the year will be judged on separate criteria.
"For volunteer of the year, we take nominations from the different organizations, and once we have all the nominations in, we have three to five judges, who are neutral, outside of ACS, and outside of the organizations that are nominated, as well, to go through the packets," said Nabe.
Whether volunteer of the year or quarter, Nabe said it's not about the recognition, but the services people are able to provide.
"Nobody goes into volunteering and says they're going to do it for the recognition," she said. "But, I do think that when a volunteer gets recognized for their meaningful services, it's just feels good that somebody took notice. It just helps add to their sense of purpose and motivation, and reinforce what they're doing."
For many volunteers, like Samantha Gonzalez, ACS volunteer, volunteerism is about giving back to services she was able to benefit from.
"I personally benefitted from volunteer services as a kid," she said. "We left a troubled family environment, and it was the work of a lot of volunteers who helped keep our life somewhat stable as kids, so I've always felt like I have this debt to repay back and I'm always trying to be the person who helped me. Even if it benefits one person over the next 10 years, I feel like I've accomplished that."
For others, like Elizabeth Tirol, Army Family Action Plan volunteer, volunteering is a good way to gain work experience to add to a resume.
"I've been trying to build up my resume because I'm pretty fresh out of college and I don't have much on my resume to begin with, so volunteering helps," she said. "It's a great way to make friends, too. Every time we go to a new installation, that's how I find my buddy."
Although volunteerism might not be for everyone, Gonzalez said that it's something that everyone should give a try because they never know what opportunities might open up for them.
"Just try it once. If it's not for you, then you can say you at least tried it, but you might be surprised at what you discover in the process," she said. "You may find that you really enjoy it or that you're good at whatever opportunity is presented to you, or you may find you have a passion you didn't know about -- just try it."
For more information, call 255-1429.