JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS ─ Two volunteers will be honored by Army Community Service with the 2019 Emma Marie Baird Award for outstanding volunteer work in connection with Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Observed April 7-13, Volunteer Appreciation Week reiterates the Army's commitment to recognizing the invaluable service volunteers offer to Army garrisons and local communities. This year's theme is "Volunteers: The Heart of the Army Community."

Stacie Pogoncheff of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, will be acknowledged May 30 for her work with the ACS Exceptional Family Member Program. Kim Shoffner of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, will be recognized April 18 for developing the Field Grade Spouse Seminar and her other ACS advocacy work.

The Emma Marie Baird Award recognizes volunteers who contribute a minimum of 3,750 service hours within a five-year period. Award recipients receive a lapel pin and a citation signed by the Chief of Staff of the Army. The award is named for the founder of Army Community Service, part of U.S. Army Installation Management Command's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation division.

More than 108,000 individual volunteers contributed more than 1.12 million hours to the Army in FY18. Volunteers include Soldiers, family members, veterans and civilians who donate time to the Army community. Volunteer efforts extend the Army's budget by millions of dollars annually.

"Volunteers are the backbone of our military communities and deserve our sincere gratitude," said Lt. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, commanding general, U.S. Army Installation Management Command.

"We need you; every set of hands is valuable," Becker said.

Volunteers assist Soldiers and families in recreation programs, schools and hospitals, and other settings. They greet newcomers, help with deployments, and offer many additional services.

Individuals volunteer for many reasons, such as showing their appreciation to service members, finding a niche in the community or helping others in need. Volunteers build readiness by being the force behind the force.

Volunteers benefit from their service through exposure to various opportunities, resources and tools for success, which in turn can develop and enhance their career mobility and promote a lifelong commitment to service.

In April, Army leadership, garrisons and Army components will execute communication efforts and activities in collaboration with community organizations to formally recognize and celebrate volunteers. Award ceremonies often are the highlight of Volunteer Appreciation Week, and may include presentations to garrison commanders of poster-size checks showing the monetary values of local volunteer hours.

The Army Volunteer Corps helps generate interest and commitment for volunteers to identify service opportunities, log service hours, and receive support and guidance.