By Mark Iacampo USAG Hohenfels Public AffairsJune 2, 2011
HOHENFELS, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels paid tribute to its legion of volunteers with a recognition ceremony and luncheon in appreciation for another year of giving “from the heart.”
“Volunteers selflessly give their time to organizations and activities that possibly wouldn't exist without them,” said Madelene Y. Celestine, Army Volunteer Corp program coordinator. “The ceremony is an opportunity for the entire community of Hohenfels to show our gratitude to our volunteers.”
There are currently 1078 volunteers active within the Hohenfels Volunteer Management Information System, and these individuals worked a combined total of 21,482 hours during 2010.
“I think the number of volunteers that we have to recognize today is a reflection of your commitment to make this community the ‘great little place,’” said Lt. Col. Kevin J. Quarles, garrison commander.
“We would not be able to provide the amount of service with the frequency that we want without our volunteers,” he added. “You want to get it done, and you do it in such a phenomenal way.”
While all volunteers were honored with a certificate, those who served over 500 hours and those over 1000 hours received special commendations.
Lori Starnes works full time as the Family Readiness Support Assistant for JMRC, but logged another 835 hours as a volunteer.
“I think that volunteer service is the best thing you can do for your community,” she said, adding that she feels it is especially important within the close-knit atmosphere of the military.
“I want my kids to be volunteers and give that back to the community, and so we raise them to it,” she said. “I can’t very well ask them to do it if I’m not willing to do it myself.”
Stephanie Headrick and Lauren Ruiz each volunteered over 1000 hours. That’s roughly equivalent to six months at a 40-hour per week job.
“I’m new to being an army wife, so I just wanted to dig in and learn more about it, and this is the best way to learn what my husband does and what he does it for,” Ruiz said.
In a video address, Brigadier General Steven L. Salazar, commander of the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command, praised the commitment and motivation that inspires the volunteers.
“I’m really impressed and amazed by what you do as volunteers,” he said. “And you’re doing that on top of all the things we ask you to do as Army family members, which is really considerable.”
Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Davis, JMRC Mustangs Brigade Observer Controller Team, was singled out by the Child, Youth, and School Services for his extraordinary contribution to the sports and fitness programs. Davis said he was inspired by all the mentors that he had as a young man in the Boy’s Club.
“I just wanted to carry that on to the other young men and young ladies,” he said.
Davis added that though this was his first volunteer recognition ceremony, he was impressed with how the community turned out to show their appreciation for all the hard work.
“I think it’s a great thing because it shows other people to come out and do the thing, and then actually start submitting their hours,” he said.
People are encouraged to sign up and log in their hours to allow the command to quantify the essential roles volunteers have in the community, said Celestine.
“With the current state of the economy, many key programs are cancelled. The Army Volunteer Corp. Program is vital to this community and by the volunteers logging their hours, you have the numbers to prove it,” she said.
Volunteers should visit www.myarmyonsource.com to create a password and login. From the volunteer tools tab a volunteer can view the 118 organization with volunteer opportunities. The opportunities are limitless and a volunteer can apply to as many organizations as desired.
Col. John M. Spiszer, JMRC commander, said he believed that the numbers logged into the system don’t accurately reflect the true impact of the volunteers on the Hohenfels community.
“I don’t think I know anybody on this post who doesn’t volunteer in some shape or form,” he said.