FORT BENNING, Ga. - More than 70 Soldiers, retirees, Family members and civilians were recognized at the 2018 Volunteer Awards Ceremony at the Benning Club at Fort Benning, Georgia, April 26.

Volunteer of Excellence Awards were presented to individuals who volunteered at least 500 hours and to organizations that have provided distinguished volunteer service in 2017.

Michelle Brito, the spouse of the Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general, welcomed the guests and awardees to the ceremony. She offered her gratitude to those who volunteer their time to better their communities.

"You can't buy a minute with any amount of money," she said.

While a volunteer's time may be invaluable, it can certainly save the community money. According to MCoE Commanding General Maj. Gen. Gary Brito, this year's awardees completed more than 58,000 hours of volunteer time, which would have cost more than $1 million.

Soldier Volunteer of the Year awardee 2nd Lt. Tatjana Carranza volunteered 640 hours during 2017 to Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization that supports military Families. She further distinguished herself amongst other volunteers by involving her peers in the volunteer work she did. As the Officer Candidate School volunteer coordinator for her class, she planned volunteer and community outreach projects for 148 students.

"It's not really work for me," she said. "I really enjoyed seeing it all come together and seeing everyone pitch in for a cause."

Fort Benning and the MCoE recognized not only Soldiers, but also Family members and retirees for their volunteer contributions. Youths were recognized for contributing at least 300 hours of volunteer time, although most of the youth awardees completed more than 400.

"It's thanks to volunteers like you, that we can make life better at Benning," Michelle Brito said.

The full list of awardees is:
• Volunteers of Excellence: Barry Brown, Joanna Ciccarello, Jennifer DeRosset, Terry Lynn Eubanks, Amanda Favreau, Thierra Freeman, Suzanna Freimuth, Nina Gomez, Izaneth Gutierrez, Scarlet Guzman, Glenn Hackney, Amanda Hill, Lance Hoffman, Jessica Horton, Mary Jones, Kelsey Jordan, Nicki Kane, Jessica Knicely, Suzanne Leffelman, Clarissa Lopez, Robert Mason, Rhianna Mossman, Christina Phillips, Waleska Pizarro, Joleen Poole, Erica Quinzon, Bethanne Strasser, Bridget Trombley, Monica Underwood, Linsee Wheat, Winnie Wimberly, Richard Younger, Shirley-Anne Younger, Bradley Beaman, Miriam Lang, Peggy Stanley
• Soldier Volunteers of Excellence: Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Goad, Staff Sgt. Phyllis Keyes, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Robb, Staff Sgt. Nathan Stock, Sgt. 1st Class David Stricker
• Youth Volunteers of Excellence: Katelyn Jordan, Stacey Jordan, Aidan Knicely, Caleb Knicely, Hunter Sutton, Trenity Sutton, Kaleb Wentling
• Retiree Volunteer of Excellence: Howard Eubanks
• Family Readiness Group of Excellence: 718th Engineer Company
• Units of Excellence: 718th Engineer Company - Ready Force X Unit
• Volunteer Organization of Excellence Award: Battle Buddy Resource Center, Friends of the 507th
• Volunteer Family of the Year: The Hernandez Family
• Retiree Volunteer of the Year: Samuel Rhodes
• Volunteer of the Year: Diann Hart
• Youth Volunteer of the Year: Marisol Wentling
• Soldier Volunteer of the Year: 2nd Lt. Tatjana Carranza

To see more photos from this event, visit "PHOTO ALBUM: 2017 Volunteer Recognition Ceremony" in the "Related Links" section on this page.