Volunteers — Our true treasures

Story and photo by Sarahjane Phillips
Army Community Service

On May 20, volunteers and their families from all over the KMC gathered at Armstrong’s Club on Vogelweh Housing to celebrate a year full of hard work and dedicated support at the Volunteer of the Year ceremony.

In Kaiserslautern, there are more than 2,000 registered volunteers who spend countless hours supporting the Army Volunteer Corps’ mission: “To promote and strengthen volunteerism by unifying community volunteer efforts, supporting professional management, enhancing volunteer career mobility, and establishing partnerships to support personal growth and life-long volunteer commitment.”
Once a year, the organizations that have benefited from the hard work provided by volunteers are able to give their thanks by submitting packets to nominate them for prestigious awards. Each nominee who came to the VOY ceremony was given a framed certificate, a ribbon and medal, and a picture frame. Adults were not the only ones being recognized. There are many youth in the community who take time of out of their days to help as well.

The tables were beautifully decorated with treasure chests and chocolates. The dresses were dazzling and the suites just right.  Everyone was bright with anticipation to see who would take home this year’s awards.

After a wonderful series of skits put on by the youth drama club, each nominee was called forward to publicly recognize and thank them for their service. After a joyous round of applause, the master of ceremonies got down to business — the revealing of the 2011 Volunteer of the Year winners. There were several categories, and after a suspense-filled pause, the following individuals and groups received exuberant applause as they were called forward to be awarded:

The 2011 Youth/Teen Volunteer Group of the Year was presented to the Landstuhl Junior Torch Club

The 2011 Small Volunteer Group of the Year was presented to the Family Readiness Group for Charlie Co., 1-214th AVN

The 2011 Large Volunteer Group of the Year was presented to the American Red Cross

The 2011 Shooting Star Award was presented to Caitlin Hutchison

The 2011 Individual Youth/Teen Volunteer of the Year & Anne Liese Moore Teen Volunteer Scholarship ($1,500) was presented to Sammi Swiderski

The 2011 Individual Military Volunteer of the Year was presented to Sgt. 1st Class George Isla

The 2011 Volunteer of Distinction Award was presented to Melba Snyder

The 2011 Humanitarian Volunteer Award was presented to Carol Porter

The 2011 Elaine Leist “Lead by Example” Award was presented to Madison Burke.

Perhaps the most astounding gift was the volunteer hours check, presented by Army Community Service volunteer coordinator Kristen James to Lt. Col. Kevin Hutchison, U.S. Army Garrison  Kaiserslautern commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Jessup, garrison command sergeant major. The enlarged check in the amount of $7,255,055.30 represented the accumulated hours of service the volunteers had provided over the past year.