BAMBERG, Germany ― Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about a military installation is Soldiers, and rightfully so.
However, family members make up a large percentage of an installation’s population. Many family members volunteer their free time to take care of the functions necessary for the continued success of the armed forces.
“Volunteers are the backbone of the community,” said Kimberly Millner, the Army Volunteer Corps coordinator for the Bamberg military community. “Without them, we could not provide all the services that we offer at the United States Army Garrison Bamberg.”
For example, volunteers help take care of the families of deployed Soldiers through the Family Readiness Group, or provide children with fun and safe recreational activities by coaching sports or by assisting the American Red Cross.
In May, several volunteers from the 16th Sustainment Brigade were recognized for the time and effort they put into their local communities dedicated to helping others.
“I was a little shocked when I found out I had won, but I have to admit it was a nice feeling knowing that all the hard work and long hours were appreciated,” said Amy Luekenga, the senior Family Readiness Group adviser for the 391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sust. Bde. and recipient of USAG Bamberg’s FRG adviser Volunteer of the Year award. “There are a lot of great FRG advisers out there so it was quite an honor.”
“I was excited, happy and embarrassed,” said Kendra Goodman, the FRG leader for 5th Maintenance Company, 18th CSSB, 16th Sust. Bde., and recipient of the 18th CSSB VOY award. “It was strange being in front of that many people.”
There are many different reasons why people volunteer their free time. Some people volunteer to keep busy, others volunteer to learn a skill but some volunteer just to help others.
“It’s a personal desire to help our families in the battalion, to be a source of information and to make life easier for others,” Ms. Luekenga said.
And Ms. Goodman said she enjoys helping people.
“I enjoy making a difference in somebody’s life,” she said. “I’ve always volunteered, so it just comes naturally. It’s good for peoples’ hearts.”
Listed below are the awardees by each USAG:
16th Sustainment Brigade
Wendy Sledd ― Garrison Family Member Volunteer of the Year
J.P. Pearson ― Garrison Child and Youth Services Coach of the Year
Sgt. 1st Class Sonia Anderson ― Garrison Soldier Volunteer of the Year runner-up
391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
Amy Luekenga ― Garrison Family Readiness Group adviser Volunteer of the Year award
Kelly Martin ― Garrison Family member Volunteer of the Year
Petra Williams ― Garrison Agency Volunteer of the Year
12th Chemical Company
1st Lt. Robyn Kersey ― Garrison Child and Youth Services Sports Volunteer of the Year
Jessica Miller ― Garrison Red Cross Volunteer of the Year
Kelly Adams ― 12th Chemical Company Family Readiness Group Volunteer of the Year
39th Transportation Battalion
Madison Burke ― recipient of the Elaine Leist “Lead by Example” award
To see the full list of award winners, check out www.kaiserslauternamerican.com.