FORT STEWART, Ga. Fort Stewart Red Cross and Winn Army Community Hospital senior leadership gathered at Marne Lanes to honor more than 40 Fort Stewart youth who volunteered their time throughout the installation, July 31.

"All of you demonstrated a tremendous amount of selfless service," said Lt. Col. Kevin Forrest, Winn Army Community Hospital's deputy commander of administration. "You could have been out doing a number of other things, but you chose to spend your time helping others."

The youth volunteered throughout the installation, including the focal point of the hospital, the 1st Lt. George P. Hays Library, the contracting office, the youth center, the veterinary clinic, and other MWR locations.

"Our focus was to give our youth the opportunity to give something back to the community, to get them used to the work force, and to help them understand the importance of giving," said Alphonso Oliver, Fort Stewart Red Cross senior station manager.

In total, the youth volunteered approximately 1,950 hours.

"Our volunteers have been quite successful," said Oliver, who has been with the Red Cross for more than 32 years. "They have been essential in helping the Red Cross carry out its mission of helping people cope with emergencies and life's uncertainties.

In addition to assisting the staff in carry out its daily tasks, the youth volunteers were also a morale booster.

"Kids always seem to be upbeat and in a happy mood," said Susan Westbrook, Fort Stewart Red Cross assistant station manager. "It was great having them in the office; they brought a lot of joy."

The youth volunteers were between the ages of 11 and 18. In addition to working at different offices, the youth also took part in special projects to raise money for the Red Cross.

"I volunteered at a car wash and bake sale," said Kimberly Young, one of the youngest volunteers. "My favorite thing was helping raise money for others."

Kimberly's sister, Tiffany, also volunteered with the fundraising projects.

"I thought it was fun learning how to be responsible," said Tiffany. "I would like to volunteer again next year at the hospital.

Tiffany and Kimberly's mother agreed that the volunteer program is beneficial to the Stewart youth.

"I think it's great to let them know that there's a big community out here and what the Red Cross does for people during disasters and for military Families," said the girls' mother, Katria Young. "I think it's good to get them involved while they are young and to let them know that one person can make a difference."

Following the presentation of certificates, the youth were treated to pizza and a few rounds of bowling.