By Norman Shifflett

Garrison Public Affairs Office

FORT CARSON, Colo. - It was standing-room only when Family members, colleagues and Fort Carson leadership came together to recognize the Fort Carson Annual Volunteer Award recipients April 11 at Elkhorn Conference Center.

Fort Carson and the Army Volunteer Corps leaders honored 120 Soldiers and civilians April 11, 2019, for their contributions to the Mountain Post, during the Fort Carson Annual Volunteer Award ceremony.

"I have seen volunteers hard at work across the installation making a huge impact to what we do here at Fort Carson," said Kristen Kea, director, Army Community Service (ACS), Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "The theme, 'Army Volunteers: The Heart of the Army Community,' couldn't be truer than here on Fort Carson."

Brig. Gen. William L. Thigpen, acting senior commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson; Patty George, senior Family adviser and spouse of Maj. Gen. Randy A. George, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson; and Command Sgt. Maj. Anton Hillig, division command sergeant major (Rear), 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, awarded the volunteers for their service.

During the ceremony Ursula Pittman was inducted into the Steadfast and Loyal Volunteer Hall of Fame. Pittman has been honored as Fort Carson's volunteer of the year three times since she started volunteering on the Mountain Post in 2001.

Pittman said she began volunteering because she wanted to help people. But just because she is in the hall of fame doesn't mean she is done volunteering.

"I am going to continue to volunteer the same hours I did before, and then some," Pittman said. "This is not, 'Oh I get (the award) and stop.' That's not me."

She joined Martha Reed, 2013 inductee; David Terrell, 2016; and Norris Cole, 2018, in the Steadfast and Loyal Hall of Fame.

The Adult Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to five people who contributed 750 hours or more of their time. The recipients also had to volunteer with two or more different units, directorates or organizations to meet the criteria for these awards.

Five individuals under the age of 18 were awarded the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award for putting in 100 hours or more of volunteer time.

Six Soldiers were awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM). The medal recognizes these Soldiers' volunteer work for the Mountain Post that was beyond the scope of their military duties.

The Exemplary Volunteer Service Award was presented to 66 recipients who were recognized as being their unit, directorate or organization's top volunteers for the year.

Fort Carson Volunteers of the Quarter honors were given to 42 recipients.

"This celebration truly reflects the power of volunteers," Thigpen said. "Our volunteers wake up early and sacrifice their personal time for the betterment of Fort Carson."

In his remarks, Thigpen said Fort Carson has roughly 5,800 registered volunteers who contributed nearly 200,000 hours of volunteer time and saved Fort Carson $4.9 million in labor costs. ACS tracked the hours of all volunteers through the Volunteer Management Information System.

Patty George wished she had thought of the idea 29 years ago in realizing little efforts are like throwing pebbles into the water.

"Even the tiniest pebble makes a ripple that reverberates outward in ever greater circles. Your volunteer efforts are pebbles rippling through lives," Patty George said. "Every heartfelt volunteer effort, large or small, and done consistently, will always move outward in a circle of good."

Award winners:

Adult Volunteer of the Year

Donna Handoe

Arin Johnston

Sasha Moen

Jennifer Swenddal

Nicole Williams

Youth Volunteer of the Year

Ryan Handoe

Noah J. Muzzey

Connor Pinero

Jenna Royce

Mika Schlafli

Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM)

Maj. Christie Lang

Staff Sgt. Sidney Curtis

Staff Sgt. Matthew Garcia

Staff Sgt. Matthew Mangum

Staff Sgt. Crystal Maguire

Sgt. Watson Togiailua