FORT SILL, Oklahoma (April 23, 2021) -- Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Eriana Dorsey volunteers at Tomlinson Middle School, the Lawton Tigers cheer squad, Lawton Food Bank, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, and at Fort Sill Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) events.
How does she have time to be a drill sergeant, which can require 90 hours per week, and to volunteer?
“I make the time, especially during our cycle breaks,” said Dorsey, of A Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery. Between her basic combat training class cycles, she uses 24- and 48-hour passes assisting in the community.
Dorsey was recognized as the Fort Sill Volunteer of the Year (active duty category) during a ceremony April 22, at the Patriot Club. April 18-24 was National Volunteer Week.
“God has blessed me with so much that I want to give back to others,” Dorsey said. “Volunteering is a humbling experience. It’s gratifying to know that I’ve helped others.”
Ceremony host Maj. Gen. Ken Kamper, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, said the Volunteer of the Year nominees were just a small sampling of the hundreds of volunteers here.
“I am just amazed at the folks we have at Lawton Fort Sill who have heart -- where part of their DNA is helping others out,” he said. “It’s pure selfless service.”
Winston Churchill said: We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give, Kamper said. “When I look around the room at all these volunteers, I think what rich and purposeful lives that you all have.”
Master of ceremonies Kenneth Emerson, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) operations specialist for ceremonies, introduced each nominee, and spoke of their ministrations.
The nominees along with their families and friends, and unit or directorate leaders joined Kamper and FCoE and Fort Sill Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Burnley on stage. Each nominee received a framed thank-you two-star note, a framed congratulatory certificate, an FCoE command team’s coin of excellence, and an FCoE mug.
The Family Member of the Year volunteer is Anne Larson who is the Fort Sill Patriot Spouses’ Club (PSC) president, and a Soldier and Family Readiness Group advisor with 1-19th FA. She said she volunteers about 30 hours per week.
Larson said despite the pandemic, the PSC was keeping spouses connected with luncheons, fund raisers, and meetings.
She said she knows so many volunteers that were deserving of the award, but it was awesome that she won, and super sweet of installation to do this.
Eugene Deloach, DPTMS, is the Department of the Army civilian Volunteer of the Year. He was joined by his wife Dr. Regina Deloach, co-workers, and friends from the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
Deloach volunteers at the Lawton Salvation Army, Lawton Public Schools (LPS), at car wash fund raisers for high schools, and community holiday food drives.
“I don’t volunteer to get recognized, but I am happy to be recognized on a team of volunteers,” he said. “Volunteering is about trying to help someone, to uplift someone.”
Deloach noted that his wife assists him in many volunteer activities. Dr. Deloach, LPS District Diversity and Inclusion director, said she was ecstatic that he won.
The Fort Sill USO won the volunteer organization of the year category.
“We are very honored,” said Jennifer Kirby, USO Oklahoma executive director. “More so, I think it is wonderful that the work of our volunteers is being recognized by the military community we serve.”
What did it take on the USO’s part to be selected?
USO volunteers contributed over 6,700 hours of volunteer service on Fort Sill through a wide variety of USO programs, Kirby said. “We execute to boost the morale and welfare of service members and their dependents. Volunteers are friendly faces to greet guests to the USO Center."
USO volunteers work in a variety of roles, she said.
“They are cooks and servers to the multiple food programs. We host such as drive through lunches and holiday meals, she said. “They can be found at redeployment events passing out refreshments to the families, providing a snack and farewell to trainees leaving for holiday block leave, and serving cookies at field artillery advanced individual training graduations. USO Volunteers were eager to continue serving safely even with a pandemic.”
USO’s Mark Ludington has been volunteering at installations worldwide, including Italy, Germany, and Oklahoma, for 11 years.
“I love to volunteer and if people want to volunteer, do it for the right reasons: Do it for the military because they’re the ones who keep us free,” he said.
Shane Dunlevy, MWR acting director, said the honorees were nominated by their respective brigades and directorates. The winners were selected by a panel of senior leaders and directors.
Volunteers, through thousands of hours of donated time, enhance programs and services and they are mission multipliers that improve the quality of life for service members and families throughout the community, he said. The number of volunteer hours donated went down last year because of COVID-19, Still, their volunteerism is priceless, Dunlevy said.
“Giving your time for a cause or activity greater than yourself is what volunteering is all about,” he said. “And, that’s incredibly appreciated across the Lawton Fort Sill community.”
Chaplain (Maj.) Stephen Taylor, 1-30th FA, 428th FA Brigade
Gunnery Sgt. Adam Fairchild, Marine Artillery Detachment
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Kalunda, 2-18th FA, 75th FAB
Staff Sgt. Wesley Baker, 3-6th ADA, 30th ADA Brigade
Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Eriana Dorsey, A/1-79th FA, 434th FA Brigade
Family member volunteers
DA civilian volunteers
Eugene Deloach, DPTMS
Bill Kaplan, 428th FA Brigade
Lynn Stutzriem, Garrison
Steven Weatherspoon, Reynolds Army Health Clinic
Fort Sill Patriot Spouses’ Club
Fort Sill Retiree Council
Fort Sill USO