By Capt. Kurt Van Slooten, 188th Public AffairsMay 19, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - "Celebrating people in action," was the theme for this year's Volunteer Recognition Ceremony for the Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
A group of 32 Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members from the 188th Infantry Brigade were among those recognized by Maj. Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commanding general, Third Infantry Division, during the ceremony, May 11 at Club Stewart, which paid tribute to those who have gone above and beyond by volunteering their efforts during the past year to help the community.
"It is priceless what you do, and I just want to say thanks for all you do," Maj. Gen. Abrams said.
Major General Abrams said that more than 14,400 hours of volunteer time were logged during the last year. He also acknowledged that a large number Soldiers and Civilians in the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield community volunteer outside the system that keeps track of volunteer hours and thanked them for their commitment to better the community.
Soldiers of the 2/306th Regiment "Red Dragons" of the 188th are among those who have gone above and beyond in bettering the community through untracked volunteer hours at the Liberty County Head Start in Riceboro, Ga., despite a hectic deployment schedule.
They volunteer their time and efforts on an ongoing basis at their adopted school to read and spend time with the children in between mobilization support missions at Camp Shelby, Miss., Camp Atterbury, Ind., and Fort Polk, La.
The teachers at the Liberty County Head Start have remarked numerous times about what a positive influence the Soldiers have had just by being there and being consistent in the children's lives during the past four years.
"The kids really enjoy having the Soldiers in the classroom," said Deborah Scaife, preschool teacher. "The male figure attention is important, and having them read to the kids also stresses the importance of reading and education."
In addition, during the past year, the Red Dragons saw a need during the holiday seasons and reached out to help fill that need.
At Thanksgiving, the Red Dragons provided a dinner basket for deserving families at 10 Head Start programs in the coastal Georgia region. The families that received baskets were nominated by their location.
During the last Christmas holiday the Red Dragons wanted to ensure all 174 children received gifts, so they reached out to the Soldiers and Civilians of the 188th Infantry Brigade and asked for contributions to ensure their goal was reached. As a result, they were able to provide a present for each child at Liberty County Head Start.
"I would like to personally thank all members of our brigade who volunteered over the course of the past year for the dedication they have shown," said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade commander. "Taking time out between missions to support the community both represents the Army well and is truly a part of what being a Soldier means."
The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve units and assists with redeployment and demobilizing following deployment. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th "Battle Ready" Brigade has been training Reserve Component units for deployments continuously since 2003.