JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Civilian and service members across Joint Base Lewis McChord were honored at the 35th annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony held May 13 at The Club at McChord Field.
The JBLM Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness Volunteer Corps presented a ceremonial check of more than $1.2 million to the base leadership as a symbolic gesture to represent the hours of volunteer service performed over the past year.
The Army Volunteer Corps mission promotes and strengthens volunteerism by uniting community volunteer efforts, supporting professional management, enhancing volunteer career mobility and establishing volunteer partnerships to support individual personal growth and life-long volunteer commitment.
I Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. Randy George gave remarks expanding upon what it means to be a volunteer and how grateful he is for their hard work and dedication.
“We had over 3,100 volunteers on JBLM this past year, and we just want to thank them for their selfless contributions,” George said. “No matter how many hours are volunteered, it’s like a pebble being thrown into a pond and the positive ripple effect is seen throughout our organizations here.”
Awards were given for the exceptional efforts and lasting communal impact these individuals displayed over the previous year.
Flor Anchondo, Wayne Pulliam, Twyla Allen, Tech. Sgt. Michael Barbato and Cassandra Poling received Merit Awards for their exemplary volunteer efforts ranging from fundraising and organizing community events to deployment aid for families.
Airman 1st Class Laura Crowley was awarded JBLM Community Volunteer of the Year for aiding local school districts with their national lunch programs during COVID-19 closures, collecting donations and assembling 68 boxes to be distributed worldwide for Operation Christmas Child, coordinating donations of over 1,300 dozen cookies for Operation Cookie Drop and coordinating a team of service members to honor over 1,000 veterans with Wreaths Across America.
Shelly Hinzman was recognized as the JBLM Retiree Volunteer of the Year. Hinzman served as the Santa’s Castle Board president on JBLM. Santa’s Castle is dedicated to providing Christmas gifts to military children from families experiencing financial hardship. Hinzman managed the Santa’s Castle social media and organized toy donations over the entire year to provide services to over 1,245 families.
The La Luz family received the JBLM Family of the Year award. As a family, they contributed heavily to the religious ministries and services offered on the installation. At the peak of the COVID-19 shutdown, they created new and innovative ways to digitally reach and engage the installation’s youth. The broadcasts were immensely popular and received over 10,000 views.
Senior Airman Deyana Burke received recognition as the JBLM Active-Duty Volunteer of the Year for leading McChord Field’s first “Juneteenth” educational event and several other educational events like LGBTQ History and Hispanic Heritage Month.
Paula Skandis was recognized as the JBLM Volunteer of the Year. Skandis was Santa’s Castle’s vice president for scheduling and designed a process that streamlined appointments. Through her innovation and dedication Santa’s Castle was able to process and aid more families than any year prior.
Skandis served as the coordinator for the McChord Family Scholarship Fund where she transformed the process to an online format, making it accessible to more individuals. Skandis also served as the Soldier and Family Readiness Group leader for two companies and managed both unit’s social media platforms.
For more photos from the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/JBLMDPFR.