Fort Campbell officials honored their most outstanding volunteers representing organizations from all across the installation with accolades for their selfless giving and award certificates for their mantles during a Volunteer of the Year ceremony in Cole Park Commons on post, April 16.
Installation leaders hold this ceremony annually to officially recognize individuals who's supervisors identified as having gone above and beyond an established standard and exceeded expectations to care for Fort Campbell's Soldiers and their families.
Alex Krohn, Army Community Service (ACS) Army Volunteer Corps coordinator, said it's always important to honor those who have helped in the community and allow the command team to see just how much the volunteers have done.
"The Heart of the Army" theme for the 2019 recognition ceremony acknowledges the Army's many programs that rely heavily upon volunteers' helping hands to remain prosperous.
"A lot of programs in the Army don't happen without volunteers," said Krohn. "You don't have a Family Readiness Group without volunteers; or private organizations on installations, without volunteers; or event the USO. Volunteers are the heart of the Army."
This year, Fort Campbell celebrated 50 nominees, eight more than last year.
Every year, volunteers are nominated in any of five categories to compete for the overall Volunteer of the Year award. The categories are Child and Youth Services, Community Service, Other Agencies and Organizations, Family Readiness Group and Youth. One winner is selected per category.
After all of the volunteers in their respective categories received recognition, an event spokesperson announced the final five overall winners.
Nadine Hopper won the Child and Youth Service category. Andre Lucas Elementary School nominated Hopper, who regularly volunteers at the school and is an active Parent Teacher Association member.
"I love giving back the community," said Hopper. "Volunteering keeps me busy during my spouse's deployments and allows me to be around my daughter and her day-to-day life at school."
Army Community Service nominated Lauren Morris, winner of the Community Service Category. Morris volunteers her time as an ACS Army Family Team Builder.
Tere Kangas, winner of the Other Agencies and Organizations category, volunteers for the American Red Cross.
Nealie DeMott won the Family Readiness Group category. DeMott frequently devotes her time to the Soldiers and family members of was nominated by 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team - the unit that nominated her. DeMott is an FRG Leader and Spouse Master Resiliency Trainer.
"The thing ... (I) enjoy most about volunteering (as an FRG leader) is being able to help spouses find their home in the unit and (to) help them become more involved in the community around them," said DeMott.
The 52nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group nominated Youth category volunteer award winner Hannah Duncan, who allots her volunteer time to Fort Campbell High School.
Major Gen. Brian Winski, commanding general of 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, expressed his sincere gratitude to all the volunteer nominees who work at organizations all across the installation.
"Living the Army lifestyle is tough, and being able to carve out time the way you all do is inspiring; we can not thank you enough," said Winski. "Your volunteerism makes a huge difference, and you reflect all that is great about Fort Campbell. There are a lot of great aspects of Fort Campbell - the best of which is the people who fill this community every; single; day."
At the end of the evening, event organizers presented a "check", which revealed the amount of hours Fort Campbell volunteers served during 2018.
Volunteers served a total of 107,553 hours and saved the installation more than $2.5 million.
Krohn encourages volunteers to continue registering their hours served while volunteering and to motivate others to become more involved in the community.
"To me, volunteering is just selfless giving from the heart," said Krohn. "If you want to volunteer, 'My Army One Source' is where you can check out some the volunteer opportunities in the area.
"If you're currently volunteering and not registering your hours, I would highly recommend you do so," he emphasized.
To volunteer in your military community, contact the Volunteer Office located in the Family Resource Center at (270)-956-2934, or visit myarmyonesource.com for more information.