HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - Without volunteers, many programs on military installations would come to a screeching halt.

Those are the words of Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield senior commander and commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, who personally thanked those who keep the installation running at the Commanding General's Installation Volunteer Recognition at Hunter's Truscott Air Terminal, May 12.

According to Maj. Gen. Abrams, the monetary value of the volunteers at Hunter from March 2010 through May 2011 is more than $200,000.

"All of you who volunteer have made individual and Family impacts that are immeasurable; they're priceless," said the Stewart-Hunter senior commander. "If you're a Family Readiness Group leader, your contributions to the Army and to Army Families are priceless - you can't put a price tag on it; there is no way we could pay you what you're worth."

More than 900 volunteers gave their time in the past year to support Hunter, and about 200 of those volunteers were present at the ceremony to receive the thanks of the command.

The Marne Spirit Award was awarded to 16 volunteers who have made a significant impact upon the quality of life in their agency, unit or the installation. Those receiving the one-time award were nominated, and then approved by Maj. Gen. Abrams.

One of the women who received the award was Tobi Schaap, who has served as the treasurer for the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company for the past four years, and has been an active member in the company's FRG.

"I put in four years as the treasurer for the HHC [of 3rd CAB], and it's a great honor to be recognized for that and for my time," Shaap said. "But really, it's all for the other Soldiers and Families that I serve."

During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Abrams talked about all of the groups on the installation that are solely volunteer driven, including Army Family Team Building, the Spouses' Clubs and FRGs.

"All of those programs will come to a screeching halt without volunteers," he said. "And they are absolutely vital for our Army and for our community."

Another volunteer recognized for her service was Annaliza Rogers, whose husband is the commander of HHC, 3rd CAB.

"I serve because I feel like it's a way to show my support for my Soldier," said the Marne Spirit Award recipient. "You know, people put in a lot of effort and time to organize different volunteer activities - so just showing up, even if you don't hold an actual position, I feel like it's a way to show your support for your Soldier, just your being there."

She said that through the constant deployments over the past eight years, it is important to have people to go to who are dealing with a similar situation.

"Having a good support group - that's a big reason why we do this, so you have someone to lean on; someone who's going through the same things you're going through," Rogers said. "I think a lot of us, we volunteer because we're a military Family, and a lot of people don't have actual Family nearby, so it's an extended Family."

For all of those who volunteer, whether they are spouses or from private organizations such as the American Red Cross or the United Service Organization, they all do it for the same reason.
"I volunteer to support my Soldier and the other Families that serve," Schaap said.