The Greek philosopher Plato once said, “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”
That concept was celebrated, May 24 at Cashe Gardens on Fort Stewart as the 3rd Infantry Division and Army Community Services hosted the installation's annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony.
During the ceremony, five categories of volunteers were highlighted as the Installation's Volunteers of the Year; who together, donated more than 26,603 volunteer hours of community service; valued at approximately $845,975 in service to Soldiers, Families and community members.
Active Duty Soldier of the Year: Sgt. Jocelyn Balderas from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity – Fort Stewart.
Spouse of the Year: Mrs. Michelle Daniels, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade
Family of the Year: The Seery Family including Col. Jason and Andrea Seery and their children Lukas and Gavin and Gavin.
Youth Volunteer of the Year: Miss Chasady Hall, Daughter of MSG Jonathan Hall, 2ABCT
Civilian of the Year: Jacquelyn Davis, Chief for the Patient Administration Division at Winn Army Community Hospital.
Volunteer Coordinator, Renee McClinton said volunteers help make a big difference on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield every day. She said they not only help provide needed services; but often bring their own insight, knowledge and experience to help elevate and evolve those services.
McClinton said volunteers supported the installation, in many ways throughout 2023; helping in schools; area beautification; youth sports; Soldier and family activities; expanding community outreach programs and more.
“There are many advantages to volunteering, McClinton said. "For starters it is a great way to meet new people, especially If you’re new to the area. You can gain new skills while giving back to the community."
She said community involvement can be meaningful - especially when it helps others. Helping improve your sense of purpose and personal accomplishments.
Some of the volunteers agreed with that philosophy.
Jacquelyn Davis said she volunteered to give back to the community.
“It’s the little things we take for granted; that someone else is grateful for,” Davis said her mother instilled the concept in her as she was growing up; noting it was now part of her daily life – helping other’s have a brighter day.
“Sometimes it hard to find the time,” Davis said. “But the effort is well worth the investment. Who knows when we will need a helping hand!”
Augustine Vazquez (Navy Retired), said “Networking can lead to greater opportunities and its very edifying to be able to help others in need and give back to others the very thing that was given to you by those who helped you.”
There are numerous volunteer opportunities on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield; for those who just want to help, to learn a special skill; or perhaps to apply a special skills/professional licensure they already have. But, while all installation volunteers must first register through ACS and the Red Cross. Some have special requirements, like volunteering at Winn Army Community Hospitals. Individuals wish to volunteer at the hospital would need a DoD ID card, a background check, a tuberculosis test, proof of current vaccinations and immunizations, a Hospital Orientation, and HIPAA training. Which can be provided.
Community members are encouraged to explore installation volunteer opportunities by contacting the Red Cross representative, Katie Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or ACS Volunteer Coordinator, Renee McClinton at 912-435-9633, or email email@example.com.