By Emily Brainard, Army Flier StaffMarch 24, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers leaders recognized five members for outstanding volunteerism and swore in three of these individuals as BOSS officers during a March 17 meeting at Bldg. 6813.
Garrison Commander Col. Yvette Kelley and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Dwaine Walters awarded Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals to Spcs. Joshua Merle, Jonathon Dunham, Jeremy Gorman, Keely Misemer and Gene McKenney.
Command Sgt. Maj. Antoinette Aila, 110th Aviation Brigade, was not present but also earned the award for her dedication to BOSS.
"These Soldiers are going out of their way and taking time to help Soldiers and Fort Rucker," Walters said.
Kelley commended the young Soldiers for their tireless efforts in making single Soldiers' lives better.
"The BOSS program here is the best I've ever seen, and it's because of these Soldiers," she said.
Though the group is small, their impact is significant, showcased by their commitment to volunteerism, according to Evy Bludsworth, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation BOSS adviser. The group has completed 1,869 volunteer hours since fiscal year 2010 began, she said, noting the medal recipients deserve recognition for their contributions to this accomplishment.
"The individuals recognized were the core team of young BOSS Soldiers who donated their time for various community service projects. These included Children's Festival, Thunder on Tholocco, BOSS Haunted House, Freedom Fest and going fishing with children from Hearts Apart, just to name a few," Bludsworth said.
After the award ceremony, Dunham accepted the position as BOSS president, followed by Misemer as new secretary and Gorman as treasurer.
Bludsworth said new officers give the program a fresh perspective, which benefits members.
"New officers mean new ideas," she said. "These young Soldiers are bright and very determined to improve the quality of life in their community and make a positive difference. Over the next two years, I see BOSS continuing to grow with programs that will embrace those Soldiers (who) are not currently participating."
As president, Dunham said he hopes to grow the program and continue the success his predecessor, Merle, was known for.
"I hope to expand a little bit more on some of our community outreach programs," he said. "Getting more people involved here on post is my goal. I'm going to try to get into more of (all) the units' actual BOSS meetings instead of (only) being here at our main weekly (officer's) meeting. I will be putting myself out there, and I'm going to try my hardest to get every single Soldier out to my meetings."
Greater participation among the installation population is key to BOSS success, said Misemer, a C Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment air traffic controller.
"There are so many single Soldiers on Fort Rucker, but only a few percent do BOSS events. We want to get their input on things and talk about issues," she said.
Gorman, a 98th Army Band member, has overseen the treasury position for about eight months, but was officially sworn in during last week's ceremony. He said his priority is helping his fellow servicemembers.
"BOSS is great because Soldiers need something to do instead of playing video games or staying in the barracks," he said. "It gets them out to have fun. It offers rewards for single Soldiers and the people involved."
BOSS hosts their next leisure trip at Six Flags Over Georgia April 9-11. Cost is $40 and includes hotel rooms for two nights, transportation and a one-day ticket to Six Flags. Each BOSS volunteer hour is worth $2 toward the trip price. Call 255-2677 to register by April 2.