By Capt. Charles Patterson, 30th MEDCOM Public AffairsJune 13, 2012
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- A medic and his family have been named the 2012 Association of the United States Army Europe Department Volunteer Family for their efforts in helping Soldiers and various family programs in their Heidelberg, Germany community.
Sgt.1st Class Marvin Williams, his wife Jamie, along with their children, will be presented the award June 22 during a luncheon hosted by the AUSA Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Chapter.
"We started our family young and probably wouldn't be here today without others' help," admitted Jamie. "A military community can't function without volunteers."
The Williams family served this year, as they have since 2009, in such activities as volunteering in Family Readiness at Headquarters Company, 30th Medical Command, coaching and assisting multiple sports in the Heidelberg area for children, and helping organize community events with the Baden-Württemberg garrison.
Jamie Williams also received the Gold Presidential Service Award for her more than 500 hours of volunteer service, an award presented last month by US Army Europe Deputy Commander, Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer.
"Her parents instilled this in her," said Sgt. 1st Class Williams, referring to Jamie. "Our kids are growing up in the same way." We don't think about the results, we just like to do it, he said.
Jamie and Marvin explained that giving back to their community is not seen as a chore or additional duty, but as an outlet and a way to share family time.
"I don't think of it as taking away from family -- bring your kids there -- it's a shared experience," said Jamie.
Both of them work full time, one in uniform, one as a civilian. Their children, ranging in age, participate in the family practice of helping mom and dad around the community.
"I think the younger you are to being exposed to it, the less of a burden it is when you're older," said Jamie, reflecting on how volunteering with her parents as a child became her routine as an adult.
"[The kids] understand that when we need help, they know it's time to help," said Marvin.
"I think a lot of the skills you get volunteering are something that can help you professionally, too," said Jamie. Organizing events, working towards a goal, and motivating people are all marketable skills -- skills worth recognizing, which is why the US Army values this element of the military lifestyle.
The Army counts selfless service as one of the seven core Army Values, with communities surviving on the helpfulness of others. Recognition of this value extends beyond an award.
"Everybody needs to feel appreciated," said Jamie.
The Williams' packet has gone forward to the AUSA headquarters to compete with the other regions around the world, from which one will be selected for the AUSA Volunteer Family of the Year Award.