Redstone Arsenal wouldn't be the same without volunteers. There probably wouldn't be a golf course, or many of the children's services, or free tax assistance for active duty and retired military families, among other things.
"Without you many of the programs we do here would not be possible," Debra Jefferson of Army Community Service told the 256 attendees at the 24th annual Installation Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on April 29 at the Officers and Civilians Club.
More than 600 volunteers collectively contributed over 60,000 hours of work valued at more than $1 million in the past year at Redstone Arsenal.
"And that's just with the volunteers that record their time," Cathy Hays, quality of life program manager at ACS, said. "We have a lot of volunteers that don't record it. They just do it because it's the right thing to do."
To recognize more of these individuals, Redstone Arsenal changed its appreciation luncheon this year. Unlike past years, there was no competition with judges to select volunteers of the year.
"This year's different. We let each organization choose who they felt should be honored," Hays said. "And each organization was allowed to honor two volunteers."
As a result, 30 volunteers from throughout the community were recognized during the luncheon as Helping Hand Honorees. Each received a certificate, a lapel pin, MWR bucks from Morale Welfare and Recreation, and a gift bag from corporate sponsor Bill Heard Chevrolet.
"The organizations found the (past years) process was too difficult and time consuming so we found many volunteers were not being recognized," Hays said. "And this way nobody knows better than the organizations who their special volunteers are. And that's why we have such a high number of honorees this year."
Jefferson, the luncheon's narrator, read descriptions of each volunteer's service. The awards were presented by Garrison commander Col. John Olshefski and Alice Myles, wife of Redstone Arsenal commander Maj. Gen. Jim Myles.
The commanding general was traveling on official business but expressed his appreciation to the attendees via videotape. "Volunteers have a special place in Alice's and my heart," Myles said.
Said Olshefski, "Your work is valued and truly, truly appreciated."
Among the honorees was Michaelle Goforth, who volunteers at the Thrift Shop, mainly as a cashier.
"I love to volunteer with the community," Goforth said, "knowing that the funds we take in go back to help the Soldiers and their families in the military community."
The other Helping Hand Honorees included:
Aca,!Ac Kim Anton of Army Community Service, Aniceto Bagley of Military Officers Association of America, Sara Ballard of Army Community Service, Buck Bannister of Bicentennial Chapel Protestant Congregation, Rena Bannister of Bicentennial Chapel Protestant Congregation, Susan Bender of Officer and Civilian Women's Club, Dan Bucey of the Links at Redstone, Edward Burchenal of Youth Services;
Aca,!Ac Lynn Carden of Officer and Civilian Women's Club, Leonard Clark of Flying Activity, Stephanie Cook of Girl Scouts, Randy Duff of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, Ervin Dye of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Faith Community, Beverly Green of Thrift Shop, Staff Sgt. Michael Huffaker of Youth Sports, Sam Leto of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Kassie Lewis of School Age Services, Lt. Col. Cheryl McAuley of Military Officers Association of America, Ann Moore of Retiree Council;
Aca,!Ac Grant Rosensteel of Retiree Council, Jeanette Schlernitzauer of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Faith Community, Penny Seltzer of Girl Scouts, Ivy Joe Shiver Jr. of Warrant Officers Association, Lewis Spencer of Flying Activity, Frank Thonus of the Links at Redstone, Ashytn Wall of School Age Services, Jim Weaver of Outdoor Recreation, Bradley Williams of Youth Services and Dave Wyatt of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.