Surgical technician recognized nationally for selfless service

by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham
30th MEDCOM Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany ― A surgical technician from Valley, Ala., has been named the 2011 United Service Organizations Volunteer of the Year for his resolute dedication as a volunteer at the Kaiserslautern USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl.

Sgt. Milfred Williams of the 212th Combat Support Hospital’s 160th Forward Surgical Team will be recognized for his selfless service at the USO Annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony Oct. 6 in Washington, D.C.

“It is a great and humbling honor to receive this recognition from the USO considering there are so many extraordinary volunteers in this wonderful organization around the globe,” Williams said.

After enlisting in the Army seven years ago, Williams began volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters in San Antonio, Texas. He credits his desire to help others after having experienced some hardships in his own life and received help from volunteers when he needed it the most.

Now he routinely spends his off-duty time volunteering at the USO Warrior Center on Landstuhl, a facility dedicated to providing area wounded warriors a place to unwind and relax while they are in the area receiving medical care. He strives to provide the wounded warriors with a lively and fun environment to ensure they have a positive experience at the center.

“When a wounded warrior tells me that he appreciates what the volunteers do for them, and I see the smiles on their faces, it is very rewarding and fulfilling,” Williams said.

Williams is also relied on at times to manage the center’s day-to-day operations and does everything from organizing dinners and providing tours to tasks such as organizing and cleaning the facility. He always demonstrates a drive and passion for his work and his efforts are invaluable, said Melissa Parkins, the USO Warrior Center manager.

“Ever since Shane came to start volunteering last year, he walks in the door and doesn’t stop working from the time he walks in until the time that he leaves,” Parkins said. “He runs some of our large events. He organizes other volunteers who come.”

Williams’ work ethic and positive experience as a volunteer has motivated several fellow Soldiers from the 212th CSH and 160th FST to volunteer at the Warrior Center ― a trend he hopes will continue.

“My hope is that more Soldiers will get out and volunteer in their military communities,” he said.

Nominated by the USO Warrior Center on Landstuhl, Williams was selected as the 2011 Europe Volunteer of the Quarter, Fourth Quarter in June. In July, he received the USO Volunteer of the Year award for Europe. 

The USO has four regions: stateside, Europe, Pacific and Asia. The Volunteer of the Year is selected from each region and, from that, a worldwide volunteer of the year is selected.

A USO Gala will take place Oct. 6 in  Washington, D.C. A Europe Salute event is scheduled for Oct. 14 on Ramstein.