By Staff Sgt. Wayne Barnett (Fort Carson)May 19, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Five Fort Carson volunteers were honored for donating more than 750 hours of their time in 2010, during the annual awards luncheon held Tuesday at the Elkhorn Conference Center.
Robin Arnold, Tessa Hebert, Clara Huff, Alicia Michael and Martha Reed each received Volunteer of the Year awards during the "Celebrating Fort Carson Volunteers in Action" luncheon that honored nearly 150 post volunteers for their efforts.
"I feel that volunteers are pivotal to keeping Fort Carson running; I feel that they are giving their hearts, souls and time," said Ginger Perkins, wife of Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, U.S. Division-North and 4th Infantry Division. "I really don't think Fort Carson could survive without its volunteers."
"I work a lot with the Families of wounded warriors making sure they are supported while their Soldier heals," Hebert said.
Nearly 2,400 registered Mountain Post volunteers logged a combined 147,532 hours in 2010, saving Fort Carson an estimated $2.5 million, according to Joey Bautista, Fort Carson volunteer coordinator.
Awards were given out in several different categories, based on the number of hours donated.
Thirty-five Exemplary VolunA,Ateer Service Awards were handed out in recognition of those who donated more than 500 hours of service to the Mountain Post community. The Columbine Award of Excellence was presented to 87 volunteers for giving at least 250 hours to two or more organizations.
Anthony McKinney, Juan Santibanez, Victoria Smith, David Terrell Jr. and Keonna Williams were each awarded the Youth Volunteer of the Year award in recognition of donating at least 100 hours of their time in 2010.
"I would rather do something productive with my life by helping those in need than sitting around the house," said Keonna, 15.
Sgt. Harold Self, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division; Staff Sgt. Jesyline Swinton, Mission Support Element; and Carlos Barreto, formerly a staff sergeant with Warrior Transition Battalion; were presented with the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. The official Department of the Army award is given to Soldiers who have volunteered time beyond the scope of their military duties.
"I started volunteering at my son's school after sustaining an injury in Iraq, it seemed like the only place I could help without being so stressed ... the real drive is for the kids to help me. Just seeing the smiles on their faces helped me to get better," said Barreto.
In addition to the awards presented at the luncheon, more than 900 certificates of appreciation were handed out at the unit level for those who had up to 249 hours of volunteer service during the year.