Fort Meade Recognized its outstanding volunteers for 2023 in ceremonies August 26. Army Community Service and Club Meade hosted the event, held in person for the first time since 2019. Awards were presented in six categories, Active-Duty Volunteer of the Year, Civilian Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer Family of the Year, Child and Youth Services (CYS) Volunteer of the Year and Volunteer Organization of the Year.
Before the awards were presented, Mistress of Ceremonies and Army Community Service's Mobilization and Deployment Program Manager, Pia Morales reviewed the selection process. “Every Year, we solicit impartial parties from our garrison to sit on the Volunteer of the Year Selection Panel. Each panelist is given the nominations that have been assigned a number, so they cannot identify the nominee. They are asked to score each nomination independently, with one being the least and five being the most, in the following areas, level of responsibility, impact and contribution to the community, special achievements and accomplishments, and justification,” said Morales.
The first award presented was for Active-Duty Volunteer of the Year. The nominees were MSgt (USAF) Nicholas Potts, nominated by the Fort Meade Spouses' Club and LCpl Elijah Murphy, nominated by the Post Thrift Shop with the award going to Potts. Potts volunteered at several organizations, including the Spouses' Club, the Post Thrift Shop, and the Meade High lacrosse team. He volunteered more than 240 hours total.
Nominees for Civilian Volunteer of the Year included Dorothy White (Post Thrift Shop), Stephanie Oberbeck (Post Thrift Shop), Wilma Potts (Post Thrift Shop), Bee Zoll-Johnson (Fort Meade Spouses' Club) and Meredith Hixon (Fort Meade Spouses' Club) with Wilma Potts being named the winner. Potts' achievements included saving the Thrift Shop nearly $10,000 in wages over the last 12 months. She also earned the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award.
Caely Hixon is the Youth Volunteer of the Year. Her efforts earned her the Presidential Bronze Volunteer Service Award for teens for her work at the Post Thrift Shop.
The Potts family and the Conner family were the nominees in the Volunteer Family of the Year category. In the end, the Conner family was presented with the award. Thanks to their time, the Post Thrift Shop saved nearly $6,000 in wages.
Child and Youth Services' Volunteer of the Year is Patrick St.Val. He coached youth teams in the Fall, Spring and Winter season, contributing three evenings a week over nine months.
The final award presented was the Volunteer Organization of the Year. The nominees were the Fort Meade Spouses' Club, the Post Thrift Shop and the Fort Meade U.S.O. The Spouses' Club was ultimately named the winner. The Spouses' Club was recognized for many contributions to the Fort Meade community including, their annual scholarship program, the 15th annual Children’s Holiday Party, food pantry, Exchange gift-wrapping, Operation Here at Home and much more.
In his closing remarks, Fort Meade Garrison Commander, Colonel Michael Sapp thanked all the community's volunteers. “My plan for this next year is to get you (the community) more of these numbers (volunteers). Because what I also know as soon as I get you more volunteers, you will find more things that need to be done. Because that's how amazing you all are. So, truly we salute you. I salute you,” said Colonel Sapp.