"As Army spouses and as Army family, sometimes we have to take care of each other when our Soldiers are deployed, and it is comforting to know that we have someone else to turn to who understands the same challenges that we face," said Dee Wafe, spouse of a Soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Wafe was among a group of Soldiers and family members who received awards for volunteering from Maj. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, commanding general, 25th Inf. Div., and his wife, Mary Susan, during the division's Volunteer Recognition Ceremony May 13 at the Post Conference Room, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

"To be a volunteer you have to be happy about helping others," said Lia Claytor, spouse of a Soldier assigned to Company E, 3rd Bn., 25th Aviation Regt., 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Inf. Div. "You have to be able to want to know other people and be their friends."

The awardees were recognized for their selfless service, effort and the time they spent helping family members before, during and after deployment.

"Volunteering is being selfless, and just knowing if you are in the same situation they can help you too," said Michelle Kent, spouse of a Soldier assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Div.

The division gave four types of awards during the ceremony.
The Military Spouse Tropic Lightning Ali'i Award was given to Lia Claytor; Shawn Adkins, 185th Military Intelligence Co., 2nd BCT; Jamie Smith, Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Bn., 2nd BCT; Michelle Kent; Kathleen Fuller, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd BCT; Carissa Baasch, HHC, 1st Bn. 27th Inf. Bn., 2nd BCT; Karma Boltinghouse, 25th Inf. Div. Band; and Sherri DeSilva, HHC, 225th Brigade Support Bn., 2nd BCT.

Lynnea Finnigan, Co. D, 3rd Bde., 25th Avi. Regt., 25th CAB; Jennifer Stanton, Signal Company, 25th Inf. Div., STB; Natalie Schollehorn, HHT, 3rd Bn., 4th U.S. Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT; and Spc. Preston Kite, HHT, 2-14th U.S. Cav. Regt., 2nd BCT received the Volunteer Ambassador Tropic Lightning Lokahi Award.

Yellow Ribbon Award was given to Sierra Gross, 2nd Bn., 25th Aviation Regt., 25th CAB; Christa Ploetz, 2nd Bn., 25th Aviation Regt., 25th CAB; Rebecca Alsup, D Co., 3rd Bn., 25th Aviation Regt., 25th CAB; Missy Isakson, Co D., 3rd Bn., 25th Aviation Regt., 25th CAB; Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Andreas, Headquarters Support Company, 25th Inf. Div. STB; Dee Wafe, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Bn., 2nd BCT; and Amy Wolf, B Co., 1st Bn., 14 Inf. Bn., 2nd BCT.

Elizabeth, Rebecca and Rachael Francis, all children of a Soldier assigned to 2nd Bn., 25 Aviation Regt., 25th CAB, received the Youth Volunteer Service Award.

"I am honored to be recognized," Wafe said. "However, I have to say that what I do I don't do it to be recognized. I am an extension of all the wonderful spouses who come together to help in the battalion," she continued.

"The greatest moment so far this year has been getting sincere gratitude from a spouse I thought who didn't care about the different information I sent her that will be helpful to her," said Claytor.

A Family Readiness Group is a family organization in which every member of a family can participate in helping the Army family, whether it is a Soldier, spouse or child. Even though they are small, sometimes Claytor's kids get involved with volunteering by helping her with small projects, said Claytor.

"You learn a lot about yourself when you give time to help others. You also make a lot of good friends and make strong bonds with people you volunteer with," said Kent.