Fort Cavazos ceremony recognizes volunteers

By Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsMay 3, 2024

Two people shake hands while standing as two people beside them look on.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kismet Candy, spouse of Capt. Matthew Canady, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Medical Readiness Battalion, is greeted by Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos commanding general, his wife, Jayne, and Command Sgt. Maj. John McDwyer, III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos command sergeant major, as she is named the 2024 III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos Volunteer of the year. (Photo Credit: Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
A crowd of people stand at a ballroom around the tables.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The audience stands at the beginning of the 2024 Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony honoring 43 extraordinary volunteers. (Photo Credit: Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs.) VIEW ORIGINAL

A group of remarkable individuals were honored April 24 for their invaluable work serving others at the Great Place and within the community.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony saw nominees, their family members, military leaders and peers gathered at the Phantom Warrior Center for an informal dinner before recognizing each honoree for hours of volunteer work in support of various organizations and causes.

Thirty-eight individual volunteers and a family of five were celebrated for their efforts within the special categories of active duty, senior, youth, multiple agency and family.

Two extraordinary volunteers were named Volunteers of Merit, and one exemplary volunteer was designated as the 2024 Volunteer of the Year.

“This event gives us a chance to highlight the incredible work our many volunteers have done over the last year to continue to make Fort Cavazos the great place it is,” began Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos commanding general, as he addressed the audience.

Bernabe shared that the event was deliberately scheduled to coincide with National Volunteer week to highlight the impact of volunteers at Fort Cavazos and nationwide. Bernabe went on to read an excerpt from President Joe Biden’s annual National Volunteer Week proclamation.

“America’s volunteers embody the core values that define our nation. During National Volunteer Week, we celebrate the millions of selfless Americans who keep faith in all of us and give their time, service and hearts to make sure no one is left behind,” he read.

“I have often said that America is a good nation because we are a good people. Every day our country’s volunteers prove that to be true,” Bernabe continued. “During National Volunteer Week, we remember that even one act of service, big or small, can make a difference.”

Bernabe went on to highlight the diversity that distinguishes the honorees and the shared commitment to service that unites them.

“These volunteers come from all walks of life. They’re Soldiers. They’re Department of the Army civilians. They’re family members … some are youngsters; some are young-at-heart veterans and retirees,” he said. “But what they all have in common is a dedication to helping other people and to bettering our community.”

Bernabe noted from coordinating toy drives for Santa’s workshop and raising thousands in scholarship funds, to mentoring youth and promoting good stewardship of conservation, the nominees represent the more than 6,000 volunteers registered at Fort Cavazos and who contributed nearly 40,000 hours of their time and efforts, equating to more than $1.2 million dollars in costs saved for the year.

Kristie Nix, spouse of Col. Delton Nix, Mission Command Test director, United States Army Operational Test Command, was recognized as the Multiple Agency Volunteer Honoree and Volunteer of Merit for her selfless contributions among several agencies.

She played a pivotal role as a board member of the Protestant Women of the Chapel, coordinated events for the Fort Cavazos Family Scholarship Fund and spearheaded the awards ceremony benefitting 50 scholarship recipients with $83,500 in academic scholarships and singlehandedly purchased more than 2,000 toys for Santa’s Workshop, totaling more than $140,000 — a project she said is among her favorites.

Nix became emotional as she reflected on her time spent at the Great Place and conveyed that she doesn’t volunteer for the recognition but appreciates it all the same.

“It brings me a lot of joy,” she expressed through tears. “I love the Army, I love Army families and I love being able to volunteer with them.”

The evening conjured emotion, as well as surprise and the same spirit of humility for Kismet Canady, an Army veteran, Killeen native and spouse to Capt. Matthew Canady, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Medical Readiness Battalion.

She shared that she normally goes by mom, but graciously accepted her new title as the 2024 III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos Volunteer of the Year, which also earned her the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award with a letter personally signed by the president of the United States, a medallion and a lapel pin for her 1,000 hours of service in support of several events with the Medical Readiness Battalion of Carl R. Darnall Medical Center.

Canady is also a valued Soldier and Family Readiness Groups committee member and volunteers with Operation Deploy Your Dress, the Cavazos Community Thrift Shop, Santa’s Workshop at the Great Place and the Fort Cavazos Spouses’ Club among other organizations.

“I didn’t realize that I was doing so much until I started putting it on paper,” she admitted. “It makes me feel very honored and just proud of myself because I didn’t do this expecting to receive anything … and so I’m just very grateful.”

Canady shared her unique perspective on volunteering and what makes it so special.

“Volunteering is so much more than paid work,” she said. “I never thought I would say that, but I feel that people are more grateful. It’s more gratifying to know that you’re doing something out of the kindness of your heart. And when I see other people being happy from the things that I do, it just makes me want to do more.”

For more information on the many opportunities to volunteer at the Great Place, visit