Volunteers provide critical community support at U.S. Army Garrison Italy
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – VICENZA, Italy - Ruth Ponce-Batts, Army Volunteer Corp Program manager, center, poses with all the awardees during the Volunteer of the Quarter award ceremony Nov. 15 at the Army Community Service on Caserma Ederle. (Photo Credit: Stefanie Mosley) VIEW ORIGINAL
Volunteers provide critical community support at U.S. Army Garrison Italy
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – VICENZA, Italy - Taylor Campbell, Registered Nurse and an American Red Cross volunteer gives, a flu shot to Amy Branch, military spouse, during the annual vaccination campaign Nov. 8 at the U.S. Army Health Center – Vicenza on Caserma Ederle. (Photo Credit: Stefanie Mosley) VIEW ORIGINAL
Volunteers provide critical community support at U.S. Army Garrison Italy
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – VICENZA, Italy - Suly Egante, Volunteer of the Quarter for the U.S. Army Garrison Public Affairs office, smiles as she read her award with her husband at the Volunteer of the Quarter award ceremony Nov. 15 at the Army Community Service on Caserma Ederle. (Photo Credit: Stefanie Mosley) VIEW ORIGINAL

VICENZA, Italy – During the recent flu vaccine campaign at Caserma Ederle, Taylor Campbell used her skills as a registered nurse to volunteer with the American Red Cross, offering shots to community members.

Campbell, who has five years nursing experience, helped the U.S. Army Health Center – Vicenza, accomplish its mission and keep the community healthy. For Campbell, volunteering in healthcare allows her to maintain required hours for licensing even if there is not a paid position for her.

“While I’m relatively new to the area and to volunteering here, the clinic and Red Cross have made me feel very welcomed,” Campbell said. “There is something for everyone, and if you’re able to give a little bit of your time, it can be a very rewarding experience.”

When Amy Branch, an Army spouse, brought her children for a flu shot, she was among the hundreds of people Campbell helped. Having volunteer staff made the process more efficient – she waited just 10 minutes. Without Red Cross volunteers, something like that wouldn’t have been possible, not only here in Italy, but Army wide,” Branch said.

“Volunteers really are at the heart of what the Army does, but especially here in Vicenza, there are so many things, like a flu shot clinic that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t have volunteers,” Branch said.

Volunteers work in nearly every aspect of U.S. Army Garrison Italy. Whatever the job seeker’s skill, there is likely a place on post to volunteer – to gain valuable experience, network for potential job openings and to give back to the Vicenza Military Community.

When Suly Egante arrived in Vicenza, she struggled to find her groove – a new place with limited job opportunities. The Army spouse and mother of two stepped out of her comfort zone to volunteer. She found meaningful experiences at Army Community Service, the Ederle Fitness Center, the USO and the Vicenza Women of Color. Then she turned her skills at multimedia production to the garrison’s public affairs office, who produce The Garrison Outlook – a mobile news site with associated social media. Her videos resonate with community members, helping make others aware of garrison services, events and activities.

“The feeling that you get for doing something you aren’t getting paid for is completely different than having a job and getting paid for it,” Egante said. “There is this gratification that is like, I’m doing something for the world, my community and for people I know, my friends.”

Ruth Ponce-Batts, the garrison’s volunteer program manager, knows the importance of volunteering. A military spouse for the past 21 years, she has volunteered across multiple duty stations for 11 years. When the opportunity came knocking to help people in her community to volunteer, she jumped on it. Now, from her office at ACS, she helps others.

“Volunteering, especially here in Italy, it gives you the opportunity to connect with people,” Ponce-Batts said. “Sometimes when we move over here it’s our first time overseas, and you can be the most resilient person, but it’s still an adjustment to come here, and it gives you that opportunity to talk to other people, know what’s out there, find out all the resources that are available.”