FORT KNOX, Ky. – Soldiers, civilians and military family member volunteers of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command were recognized May 19, in a ceremony presided over by Maj. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr., commanding general, 1st TSC.
Twenty seven volunteers received awards for their 19,166 cumulative hours of volunteer service with our Soldier and Family Readiness Group, at unit functions, in our directorates, and with our eight local community partners. It is estimated that the volunteers have saved the government more than $575,000.
The commanding general began by telling the Soldiers present that they too are volunteers, because they chose to serve in our all-volunteer Army.
Russell and 1st TSC Command Sgt. Maj. Albert E. Richardson Jr. thanked all of the awardees and he personally presented each with their award. “Thank you for giving your time,” he said.
“Time is the most valuable thing that volunteers give and we all benefit from it,” Russell added.
The volunteers helped pack food for those in need, assisted at deployment and redeployment ceremonies, made more than 400 calls to the families of our deployed First Team members each quarter, picked up trash, participated in Wreaths Across America, and cooked for others. They volunteered with hospice care, Girl and Boy Scouts of America, and in schools.
Volunteer and former police officer, Rashad Phinisee, has been helping with the 1st TSC’s SFRG. He has volunteered his time as a key caller, supporting families in the unit by checking with them on a regular basis and disseminating information.
“I enjoy the camaraderie of volunteering,” Phinisee said.
Spc. Tiffany Jenkins, visual information equipment operator, 1st TSC, said she was shocked that her husband Rashad initiated volunteering on his own.
“He even gets me involved when he sees that I have free time,” Jenkins said.
She was volunteering during the recognition ceremony, staffing the refreshment table handing out water and cookies to those in attendance.
Various levels of volunteer awards were presented. The first group received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. Soldiers, civilians, and family members received this award for volunteering an average of three years or 250 hours.
Those who earned the MOVSM include:
Col. Douglas Swift (He was unable to attend as he is currently deployed)
Lt. Col. Shanna Hendrix
Master Sgt. Diana Layne
Sgt. 1st Class Joni Acevedo
Sgt. 1st Class Ruta Alexander (She was unable to attend as she is currently deployed)
Sgt. 1st Class Ralph Boyd
Sgt. 1st Angela Curry
Sgt. 1st Chantel Glover
Sgt. 1st Trevor Ward
Staff Sgt. Levi Gadson
Staff Sgt. Calan Johnson
Spc. Nicole Mota
The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a civil award bestowed by the President of the United States to honor those volunteers who dedicate more than 500 hours for the Gold level and more than 4,000 hours for the lifetime achievement award.
Sgt. 1st Class Carol Newland was presented the lifetime achievement level award for completing 4,230 hours of volunteer service. She was presented the award in an earlier ceremony, prior to deploying downrange.
Both 1st Sgt. Alikeisha Waters and Michelle Kibitlewski were presented their gold level awards.
The Army Commanders Award for Public Service Medal is awarded to 1st TSC family members for distinguished service or achievements that greatly contributed to the accomplishment of the 1st TSC mission.
These were presented to Camille Davis, Rashad Phinisee, Nancy Walton, and Lindsay Ward.
The Patriotic Public Service Lapel Pin is awarded with a certificate of appreciation, in recognition of patriotic service performed by civilians.
Those recognized with the PPSLP include:
The 1st TSC also took the opportunity to recognize some of our community partners. Certificates of Appreciation were presented to representatives from the following organizations:
American Legion Riders Post 113 in Elizabethtown
Army Knox Community Services
Fort Knox American Red Cross
United Service Organizations of Metro Louisville
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10281 in Vine Grove
You Cannot Be What You Cannot See
Mark Denny, Military and Family Life Counselor
Earlier in the day, several volunteers were recognized by Russell during the U.S. Army Central Command’s volunteer award ceremony hosted by Lt. Gen. Ronald Clark, commanding general, USARCENT, via video conference from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.
Those recognized with Appreciation Awards were Michelle Kibitlewski, Nancy Walton, and Lindsay Ward who were presented their awards for all of USARCENT to see.
Maj. Tyler Weightman and Capt. Michael Krant of the 1st TSC also earned Appreciation Awards, but could not be present.
All volunteers were recognized for their contributions to the 1st TSC, the Fort Knox community, and the nation.
Russell asked everyone to think of a time when a volunteer helped them and reminisced about a volunteer that made a lasting impression on him.
“My family was stuck in BWI, when ‘a little old lady in tennis shoes’ kept the USO open and waited with my wife and children until they could make their connection,” Russell said.
“To this day, I wish I could find her,” he said. “I’d give her a hug and personally thank her for giving the most valuable thing that volunteers give, and that was her time.”