By Mr. Kenneth Fidler (IMCOM)April 8, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan officials honored its volunteers and named the top volunteers for the January-March quarter in a ceremony April 4.
A panel selected Richard Johnson and 1st Lt. Holley Thomas as the top youth and adult volunteers, respectively.
They were selected from 31 adult and nine youth volunteer nominees.
"This community is full of selfless volunteers who contribute from the goodness of their hearts," said Col. Dave Hall, USAG-Yongsan commander, during the recognition ceremony. "Yongsan could not function without our volunteers, plan and simple."
The theme of this quarter's recognition ceremony was "Volunteers Are The Backbone of the Community." USAG-Yongsan holds these ceremonies quarterly.
"I really enjoy doing volunteer work in my spare time," said Thomas, assigned to the 524th Military Intelligence Battalion. "I've been very fortunate in my life and I like to help out those less fortunate."
Thomas volunteered more than 300 hours, much of its focused on the Haesimwon Children's Orphanage in Seoul. She arranges days for Soldiers in her unit to visit the orphanage to play and interact with the children. She also organized the orphanage's Christmas party and Easter Egg hunt.
Thomas also coordinated weekly exchanges with the Seobingo Elementary School English class, in which Soldiers from the MI battalion and brigade teach children English and share cultural information.
She thanked the Soldiers of her unit for helping her organize the many activities at the orphanage. "Without them, none of this would have happened," she said.
Johnson, the youth volunteer, volunteered 60 hours with the Child and Youth Services Middle School Teen Program. "He has shown the importance of leadership and service as a leader in the Boy Scouts and in the National Honor Society," said Cameron Gonzales, director of the Middle School Teen Program.
He has been involved in community projects such as 4-H beautification projects, Boys' and Girls' Clubs of America programs, National Fine Arts and photography exhibits. As a Boy Scout, he has also been involved in service projects, such as volunteering at orphanages and campaigning for humanitarian-related projects, Gonzales said.
"His desire to make a difference shines because he has demonstrated leadership skills and has participated in various community beautification projects," Gonzales added. "He does not simply have the desire; he truly makes a difference."
The garrison is always seeking volunteers. For information, call Mary Jernigan at 738-7510.