By Tina Ray/ParaglideApril 30, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - For many of the volunteers who give back to Fort Bragg, today presented a chance for them to get some special recognition.
The Iron Mike Awards, given quarterly, were presented at the Fort Bragg Club for special service during the months of January, February and March.
Iron Mike symbolizes the World War II-era trooper that is synonymous with the spirit of Fort Bragg.
According to Catherine Mansfield, Army Volunteer Corps coordinator, some of the service areas in which volunteers donated their time include Family Readiness Groups, Fort Bragg American Red Cross, Fort Bragg Area Officers' Spouses Club and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum to name a few.
Each installation volunteer must be registered in the online Department of Army Volunteer Management Information System located at www.MyArmyOneSource.com and receive a position description.
The number of hours determines which award a nominee will receive, and ranges from a lapel pin for a minimum of 300 hours to a gold award for a minimum of 1,000 hours.
"The hours get their foot in the door but it's the justification of what they've done, the impact of what they've done during that quarter that earns them that award," Mansfield said. "(We) look for things that are consistently above and beyond their position."
Carena Walter has volunteered with the Special Troops Battalion since February 2009, first as a key caller and now in an FRG position.
Walter said she is rewarded by being able to help others and is shocked to receive an award for volunteering.
"It is very, very rewarding - the lives that I get to touch personally," said Walter, wife of Maj. George Walter of the 82nd Division Special Troops Battalion. "This isn't a thankless job. Somebody recognized me and appreciates what I'm doing," she said.
Nominations are made by units and organizations, Mansfield added.
The unit or organization must indicate the contribution(s) made by the volunteer or explain how the nominee improved the quality of life for the unit, organization or the entire military
Panelists who represent the volunteer community help choose recipients of the awards, Mansfield said.
Determinations may also be made based on the volunteer's service outside Fort Bragg, said Alice Stephens of Installation Volunteer Services.
"Do they volunteer off post and in other organizations," added Stephens.
The volunteer program makes a tremendous difference on and offpost.
"It helps us meet the mission," Mansfield said. "We wouldn't be able to do it without the assistance of volunteers."