By Christine June, USAG Kaiserslautern Public AffairsApril 29, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - "The Heart of the Community" were honored here April 24 during U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's volunteer recognition ceremony.
Donating 102,220 hours this year, volunteers saved the U.S. government almost $2 million dollars in 2007, said Angela Bellamy, garrison Army Volunteer Corps coordinator.
"Our volunteers take care of families during deployments, (along with caring for) wounded troops and children throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community," said Bellamy.
The ceremony, she noted, applauds almost 1,300 KMC members who are registered with the garrison's volunteer program.
More than 100 volunteers received honors in front of a crowd of 400, as agencies and organizations throughout the community nominated 21 Volunteers of Excellence who were recognized at the ceremony.
Volunteer of Distinction honors went to Susie Plunkett, who volunteers with five community agencies, including the Kaiserslautern United Service Organizations where she assists with special events, along with helping deploying and returning Soldiers at the passenger terminal on nearby Ramstein Air Base.
"Helping others gives me a good feeling," said Plunkett, who began volunteering in high school. "My mother got me into volunteering."
The Volunteer Soldier of the Year award went to Master Sgt. Scott Penhollow, the garrison equal opportunity advisor. Penhollow serves as a Kaiserslautern High School mentor, Army Family Team Building instructor, Special Olympics buddy, Family Readiness Group member and an actor with KMC Onstage.
"He volunteers in almost every aspect of this community," said Bellamy as she introduced Penhollow.
Teen Volunteer of the Year honors went to Michael Boone. He also received the Kaiserslautern-Landstuhl Spouses Association's $1, 500 Anneliese Moore Scholarship, which is in memory of a longtime Landstuhl Thrift Store volunteer.
Boone volunteered for his high-school student council, 21st Theater Sustainment Command's FRG and garrison's events and agencies.
New this year was the Teen Group of the Year award, which went to the Torch Club, a youth leadership organization sponsored by the garrison's teen center on Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. This club also grabbed the surprise of the night when they were awarded the Presidential Bronze Volunteer Award and a letter signed by President George W. Bush.
Both awards were in recognition of the club's visits to German nursing homes, assisting with family functions and other garrison events such as the annual Christmas toy drive.
Winning Group of the Year was the Landstuhl Red Cross. The 200-plus members have given more than 33,000 hours in assisting more than 10,000 wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although not an official award, five-year-old Ceilidha Campbell received an angel doll for helping her mother, Tawny Lyn Campbell, for Project TLC: Serving Those Who Serve. The acronym TLC represents the mother's initials. The project is part of America Supports You, a Department of Defense program that provides opportunities for citizens to show their support for U.S. servicemembers
Mother and daughter visit wounded American and European warriors recuperating at LRMC - with some missing limbs.
Asked whether or not this frightens her, Ceilidha replied, "I'm not scared because I'm five now."
Guest speaker for the ceremony was Nancy Gaskins, who is a professional speaker, author and consultant specializing in success and achievement, entrepreneurship, real-estate investment, personal finance, leadership development and military-life issues. She is an Army spouse who has more than 20 years experience with National Guard, Reserve and active-duty military families.
"I encourage you to dream big and give your ideas on how you can make your mark on this world by proudly serving your community and your nation," said Gaskins.