By Cannoneer staffMay 3, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. -- As editor of a family readiness group newsletter, volunteer Julie White helps keep Army families abreast of what's going on in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 428th Field Artillery Brigade. She averages about 25 hours a month designing and laying out pages, proofreading submissions and writing articles. For her exceptional contributions the unit nominated her as its Helping Hands volunteer.
"I'm totally overwhelmed, I didn't expect this," said White, a former newspaper reporter.
White was one of almost 60 volunteers recognized April 27 at the Fort Sill Helping Hands award ceremony at the Patriot Club. The banquet was the culmination of a weeklong celebration where installation leaders at units and agencies honored their volunteers for their selfless service.
A symbolic, oversized check for $2.3 million representing the value of the more than 111,000 volunteer-hours performed here during 2011, was presented by Brenda Spencer-Ragland, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director to Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general.
This savings "allowed Fort Sill to sustain a quality of life that our Soldiers, our families and our civilians not only expect, but deserve," Spencer-Ragland said.
Halverson thanked the volunteers.
"We couldn't do it without you," Halverson said. "This really means a lot to us. Your time is special, we understand that."
Master of ceremonies Laurie Batule, Army Volunteer Corps program manager, announced the volunteers who came from agencies which ranged from the American Red Cross to the Scouts to the museum to the tax center, as well as the volunteers from military units.
General Halverson and Fort Sill first lady Karen Halverson, presented each volunteer with a certificate of appreciation, the book "Chicken Soup for the Volunteer Soul," a round at the Fort Sill Golf Course, a game at the Twin Oaks Bowling Center, and giveaways from FMWR.
Volunteers of the year were selected based on the number of hours they donated to multiple organizations in the Lawton-Fort Sill community.
Dental Activity Command Staff Sgt. Charles Eatmon was named the Fort Sill active-duty/DA civilian volunteer of the year. Eatmon volunteered with Habit for Humanity, Special Olympics, Retiree Appreciation Days, Secret Santa Workshop, Native American Family Assistance Center, Knights of Columbus, Operation Homefront Oklahoma, Boy Scouts of America, VA Clinic, Comanche County Prevention and Recovery Center, Native American Elderly Group Home, Lawton Food Bank, and Comanche Nation Food Distribution Center -- all while serving full-time active duty.
Army wife Jodi Patterson was honored as the spouse volunteer of the year. She volunteered as the family readiness group treasurer for C Battery, 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, as well as at Central Middle School, Sheridan Road Elementary School, Armed Services YMCA, Soldiers' Closest and Cameron Baptist Church.
Betty Cerrone was recognized as the retiree volunteer of the year. She served as the president of the Military Officers' 'Association of America Auxiliary on the Armed Services YMCA board. Cerrone also came up with the idea for a military welcome center at the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport, and chaired a committe to make the center come to fruition -- leading fundraising efforts for the center, and she recruited a volunteer architect to design it.
Three retiree volunteers were inducted into the Fort Sill Retiree Hall of Fame, which recognized volunteers who have worked more than 2,000 hours over a three-year period, and had their hours tracked in the Volunteer Managment Information System, Batule said.
Recognized were Retired Air Force Tech Sgt. Woody Woodward, 89, who has volunteered 5,583 hours; retired Sgt. 1st Class William Mullikin with 3,032 hours; and retired Sgt. 1st Class Harold Sowell with 2, 208 hours.
The ceremony concluded with drawings for door prizes.