FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Fort Drum community members gathered Tuesday at the Commons during the annual American Red Cross volunteer recognition ceremony to honor 69 individuals on post.

During the past 12 months, American Red Cross volunteers have donated more than 7,000 hours to installation medical facilities, including Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic, the Veterinary Facility, the American Red Cross Office and the Behavioral Health Clinic at Wilcox.
Among those individuals, 48 of them began their volunteer service this past year.

Robyn Cadwallader, American Red Cross station manager, welcomed attendees to the ceremony by thanking the volunteers for donating their time and efforts.

The hours donated over the past year translate into $152,530 worth of service to Fort Drum and the community, she noted.

In addition, American Red Cross dental assistant training program participants contributed 110,000 hours.

Guest speaker Lt. Col. Celia FlorCruz, 3rd Battalion, 85th Infantry Regiment commander, spoke about the relationship between leadership and volunteering.

"Leadership is not only a requirement of our commanders, a director or any other leader; leadership is required of anybody who wants to make a difference in their organization -- much like the volunteers who are present in this room, today," FlorCruz told attendees.

"Leadership is required of any individual who puts him or herself out there to accomplish something, especially on behalf of the community."

The North Country's community of volunteers brings a wide variety of experiences and talents to the mission, she noted.

"We have leaders who make tough decisions every day," FlorCruz said. "And, in this era of decreasing resources and increasing constraints, we all have to work harder to integrate those services, and that requires those tough decisions."

In times like this, FlorCruz noted, good decisions are frequently better than great ideas.
One of those great decisions, she continued, is taking the time to recognize the volunteers who make so many of the organizations function "optimally and with great excellence."

"All of you help us to operate in concert -- and sometimes in conflict, because sometimes that conflict is necessary to make those tough decisions," FlorCruz said. "We are all from very different fields, and I am gratified to work alongside such a vibrant community of professionals (who are) so dedicated to the greater vision that's going to provide us with Fort Drum's future."

After FlorCruz's speech, Brig. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, deputy commanding general - support; Hollyanne Milley and Cadwallader presented certificates honoring volunteers who were in attendance at the ceremony.

USO Fort Drum staff members and volunteers were recognized with the Good Neighbor award for their continued contributions to the American Red Cross.

Every 56 days, the USO staff hosts a blood drive in their facility. Over the course of about five drives, the American Red Cross has been at 117 percent above their blood drive goal, Cadwallader noted.

"A lot of that has a lot to do with the fact that the USO (staff) is so willing to work with us," she said.

Cadwallader also paid tribute to this year's major sponsors, who included 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams and 20th Air Support Operations Squadron.

"Those units not only provided volunteers on drive days, but many donors are from those units," she added.

The American Red Cross staff has hosted five blood drives throughout the past year. During that time, 810 units of blood were collected.

Cadwallader noted this amount of blood helps about 2,430 people who have needs across the United States.

"That is truly an accomplishment. It's such an increase from what we've had in the past," she explained.

Cadwallader then presented an Honor award, or a special citation for exceptional service, to Susan Flores, who she explained has been a "tremendous help in our transition of staff and leadership volunteers over the last couple months."

"(Flores) has really stepped up to where she's in the office almost as much as we are, trying to make sure everything is squared away for all of our volunteers and all of the different programs that we've got running," Cadwallader said.

Dahl rounded out the event by sharing a few words about volunteering.

"(It's) very impressive when you look at the list of new volunteers," he began, referring to nearly 50 men and women who began donating their time to help the Red Cross over the past year.

Dahl noted one individual, Marie Bauer, who has spent 27 years volunteering with the Red Cross, as well as four youth volunteers who also donated their time to help the organization.

"These are young people, who very early on, are catching the fever of volunteering and how rewarding it can be to give to your community," he said.

"The most valuable thing that any of us have is our time. … When (people give) their time, they're giving a piece of themselves," Dahl added.

Anyone who would like to volunteer with the American Red Cross may visit the office in Clark Hall, Room B1-35, or sign up through the Volunteer Management Information System, which is accessible by visiting