FORT HOOD, Texas - The Family Readiness Group of 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, held a Volunteer Appreciation Day May 16, at the 1st Cav. Div. Soldier and Family Readiness Center.

Despite the inclement weather, more than 60 family members, volunteers and battalion sponsors came to Fort Hood to participate in the volunteer ceremony.

Participants took part in a several events: a tour of the 1st Cav. Div. Horse Detachment stables and the 1st Cav. Div. Museum and a barbeque at the 1st Cav. Div. Soldier and Family Readiness Center.

The event was organized to honor the volunteers and sponsors of the 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt., said Capt. Tyler Stegeman, the Rear Detachment commander.

They presented more than 40 awards to the volunteers and gave a special award to Emanuel Lutheran Church, which recently became a friend of the battalion, and an encased guidon to the Sears Teleserv Call Center in Round Rock, Texas, which has been our official sponsor for the last two years.

"Today gave us the opportunity to publicly recognize them for their efforts and longstanding support," said Stegeman, from Jefferson City, Mo. "It also allows our families members, who otherwise wouldn't have an occasion to express their thanks to the many volunteers and sponsors that support our brigade."

Leading up to and since the deployment of the battalion, the volunteers and sponsors have been working hard, said Valerie Jackson, a senior advisor for 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt., from Essex Junction, Vt.

"So many people have helped out in a million different ways; whether it's been cooking a meal, cleaning a family's house, who may have been going through a difficult period, or making a million phone calls a month for this and that," said Jackson, who is married to the 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt., commander, Lt.Col. Scott A. Jackson

"I want them to know that we see the things they do in and around the battalion, even though they might not realize we've noticed. Their efforts in part, help to keep our Soldiers safe because our Soldiers can focus on their mission knowing that their families are being taken care of back here."

Jennifer Johnson, a volunteer with 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt., and a member of Emanuel Lutheran Church, said events like these helps families stay connected.

"I know that when my husband was deployed, I relied on a spousal support group within the church. Maintaining our connection helped us get through the deployment," said Johnson, of Dallas. "Whether it was, I haven't gotten to talk to my spouse in this many days or whatever else that may have come up. Like me, the other spouses were dealing with some of the same issues."

Johnson said her support for her husband, who works tirelessly to support families of deployed Soldiers, will not only help the families, but the battalion as well.