By Cpl. Im Jin-min (USAG-Yongsan)April 28, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea Aca,!" Yongsan rolled out the red carpet April 25 to honor its volunteers at the annual U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Volunteer of the Year gala, treating them to a night of celebrity status.
Aca,!A"This year is very special because all our nominees were awarded volunteer of the year honors,Aca,!A? said Suzanne James, director of USAG-Yongsan Army Community Service. Aca,!A"Rather than having one winner for the entire community, we wanted to show that all our volunteers are winners.
The celebration, dubbed Aca,!A"Night of the stars,Aca,!A? took on an Academy Awards theme at the Main Post Club to show appreciation to the 58 volunteers and their families who attended.
The volunteers-turned-celebrities got their pictures taken in front of a limousine, complete with paparazzi flashing cameras. They each received a celebrity star, enjoyed an awards dinner while listening to the 8th U.S. Army Band perform, and were treated to a multi-media presentation of volunteers in action around the community.
They even walked the Yongsan Aca,!A"walk of fameAca,!A? to give it some Hollywood flair. Each volunteerAca,!a,,cs name was etched on a star-shaped cutout affixed on the walkway to the ball room.
Aca,!A"There was a lot of laughter; everybody had fun and was relaxed,Aca,!A? said one attendee, Valarie Francis.
Each of the 58 honorees got stage time to receive their awards from Garrison officials.
Aca,!A"You truly are shining stars,Aca,!A? said Col. David Hall, U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan commander.
Aca,!A"They may think that they are ordinary people doing normal chores, but they are making a fantastic difference in our community with different talents,Aca,!A? added the eventAca,!a,,cs master of ceremonies, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James King, USAG-Yongsan installation chaplain.
Officials acknowledged several community members for their dedicated contributions.
Aca,!Ac Lori Wilhite was honored with PresidentAca,!a,,cs Volunteer Service Award. She is an Army Family Team Building instructor and coordinator and serves as the Seoul Army Medical Department Family Readiness Group leader.
Aca,!Ac Hong Sook-hee, who is coordinator for the Korean AFTB and has served as an ACS volunteer program manager, was awarded the PresidentAca,!a,,cs Daily Points of Light Award.
Aca,!Ac The family of Staff Sgt. Christopher Rolack was nominated as runners-up of the Association of the U.S. Army Rubbermaid-Irwin Volunteer Family of the Year for 2007. Rolack and his wife, Antoinetta, and five children Aca,!" Chrische, Chrischel, Crishauna, Crisheena, and Christiana Aca,!" are all active volunteers.
Aca,!Ac Tami Taliento and her two children, Christian and Emma, received the February Family of the Month award for the hundreds of hours they spend volunteering in the community.
Aca,!A"The Army cannot function effectively without its volunteers,Aca,!A? Wilhite said. Aca,!A"They are the heart and soul of the community. Personally, I have been able to maintain my skills, learn new skills and make wonderful new friends.Aca,!A?