FORT SILL, Okla., April 18, 2019 -- Helping Hands Volunteers of the Year were announced April 12, at the Patriot Club. Volunteers were recognized for their selfless service in the following categories: active duty and Department of the Army civilians, retirees and retiree family members, active duty spouses, and youths.

"We received 16 nominations from both military units and a couple of nonprofit organizations that support Fort Sill," said Dan Farrell, Army Volunteer Corps coordinator.

Before Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 7-13, Army Community Services (ACS) petitioned Fort Sill units and several external organizations for nominations. Each organization had one nomination for its best volunteer. A panel of judges consisting of everyone from spouses to chaplains then rated the nominees using an objective grading system to determine the winners.

The winners were kept secret and announced during the ceremony, but every nominee was honored. The highest number of volunteer hours for a single volunteer was over 7,000 hours.

This year volunteers on Fort Sill logged 74,053 hours into the Volunteer Management Information System (VMIS) system. The value of those free hours of service totaled nearly $1.83 million.

"While hours are a very important part of who we select, that was the only criteria as the impact of those volunteers also matters greatly, "said Farrell. "It's not only good for the community; it's good for the individual. It's great for the soul and in my experience you can see a change in that person. They seem happier being able to give back."

If you would like to volunteer your time, you can start by registering for VMIS at myarmyonesource.com. Then within VMIS, you can review and sign up for approved local volunteer opportunities. If you need additional help contact Farrell with Army Community Services at 580-442-4682.