By Yvonne Johnson, APG NewsMay 1, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - APG Army Community Service held its annual volunteer recognition ceremony at Top of the Bay April 18. While the military, civilian, retiree and youth categories carried a combined 27 nominees, the Family member category had a record 38 volunteers nominated for the top honor.
Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell, commander of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and APG, and Col. Orlando Ortiz, Garrison APG and deputy installation commander, presented certificates and awards.
While recognizing the ACS staff, Ferrell noted that during 2011, APG's volunteers served more than 13,000 hours, saving the installation more than $282,000.
"When you have individuals who give their own time to help others, that's a big deal," he said. "It's very special that we take time to celebrate their selfless service.
"I want to thank each and every one of you. What you do matters," he said to the nominees. "This was a good year and we're hoping to raise the bar for next year. If you didn't volunteer, there are still plenty of opportunities."
APG's Volunteers of the Year are Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jennifer Collins (military); Kimberly Hoyle (civilian); Larry Alejo (retiree); Erica Troxler (youth) and Sandy Nook (Family member).
Chief Warrant Officer 4
Military Volunteer of the Year
Collins is assigned to the 20th Support Command (CBRNE). She volunteers throughout the year as a team mom/manager with Child, Youth & School Services for basketball, football, soccer and cheerleading and she said she was honored to be recognized as the APG Military Volunteer of the Year.
"Although the military is very demanding, it is important for me to show my children how much they mean to me and to give back to our community. This award is for my kids," she said. "I feel there are some things the coaches should not have to worry about. They volunteer countless hours to prepare for practice and games, making sure the kids learn fundamentals and sportsmanship through recreational sports. The least I can do is manage the external requirements, such as snacks, team parties, sharing photos and making sure our coaches have something to remember the season at the end. I love to help, and I love taking photos. The recognition is just a formality; not needed, but much appreciated."
Civilian Volunteer of the Year
A business operations and human resources specialist with the CECOM SEC, Hoyle has single-handedly mentored Edgewood Middle School students for the past three years. She said she is "passionate about outreach" and thanked her command for its support and noted that while she appreciates the award, the positive feedback she gets from the students, "is all the thanks I need."
"I originally wanted to become a teacher, it's something I've always had a longing to be involved with," she said. "I do it because of my 11-year-old daughter who is showing an interest in the sciences. My interest is in fanning that flame."
Family Member Volunteer of the Year
Nook is a retired APG civilian and the wife of Jerry Nook, who was selected Retiree Volunteer of the Year in 2005. Both have been members of the Main Post Chapel's Protestant service "longer than I can remember," Sandy Nook said. A member of Protestant Women of the Chapel and the Protestant Choir, she said she volunteers her time and energy on numerous chapel programs and events throughout the year. "I like staying involved so I help out whenever and wherever I'm needed and Jerry does too."
"It's nice to be recognized by my church and my family," she said. "I just about fell out of my seat when I heard my name called. There were so many other nominees. To me it means that someone thought that what we do really makes a difference."
Retiree Volunteer of the Year
Alejo is a retired Command sergeant major and civilian with the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools. A volunteer range master on Morale, Welfare and Recreation's skeet and trap range since 1990, he said he was "humbled" to be recognized.
"However, the recognition really is for all the participants who use the facility. I tend to think a lot of folks who work on the installation don't realize what they have here and if they'd just take in what's available, they'd enjoy [APG] a lot more."
He thanked MWR leaders and Outdoor Recreation's Ralph Cuomo for his nomination.
"I especially want to thank the corps of volunteer range safety officers who are onsite every day," he added. "The MWR staff and I couldn't do it without them. This is not a one-person operation. It's very much a joint activity."
Youth Volunteer of the Year
Troxler is a 14-year-old volunteer with the Main Post Chapel Catholic service. The daughter of Master Sgt. Eric Troxler, 20th Support Command (CBRNE), Erica has been teaching confirmation to youth classes for the past two years.
"I love volunteering," she said. "The children like being around me. They see me as a sister passing on her knowledge.
"I would encourage anyone to volunteer," she added. "Everyone has something to offer. Just try it. It's better to try and fail than not to try at all."
Nominees for Volunteer of the Year
Lt. Col. James Coffin
Maj. Luis Perez
1st Sgt. Rebecca Franco
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Williams
Sgt. Joshua Boudreaux
Cpl. Jennifer Zukas
Mary Jo Span
Dr. Marilyn Mitchell-McCluskey
Lisa Nicole Turner