***image1***“Specialist Smith” from the 82nd Airborne Division stepped off the plane after eight months in Afghanistan. It was a 12-hour flight, and he was one layover away from home. At 2 a.m., he didn’t expect a brass band or a welcome home party. He also didn’t expect Patrick Little to greet him at Purple Ramp with a warm smile and a hot cup of coffee. Thanks to Patrick Little, “Specialist Smith” felt one step closer to home. Mr. Little is a volunteer.
Clearly, volunteers make this community tick.
Here are some statistics. I am proud of these because they demonstrate the commitment of our volunteers. Over the last year, individuals in the KMC dedicated 60,000 hours to private organizations, 37,800 hours to Army Community Service, 3,000 hours for thrift and consignment shops, and 5,000 hours to the hospital, just to highlight a few. Volunteers are responsible for mentoring and tutoring our children, providing supervision and counsel for our scouting and school programs, family readiness programs, raising and collecting money and merchandise for the needy while offering physical and spiritual aid and contributing to the ongoing war on terror, and programs like the Army Family Action Plan which make the KMC a better community to live and work.
Margaret DiMeglio, Dora Tucker, Tech. Sgt. Suzanne Remedies, Aimee Henderson, and Jamilah Bailey are selfless individuals who have given their precious time to the KMC through the volunteer program. Robin Jones, Angela Bellamy, Timothy and Nancy Brace, Mark Little, Raymond Quenga, also represent the incredibly active volunteer program we have in the KMC. All 11 were recognized at our last two Volunteer of the Quarter Ceremonies, and between them, they had more than 6,500 hours of volunteer service. More importantly, though, these 11 individuals enabled the community to provide a service that otherwise we would have gone without.
I want to publicly thank all of our community volunteers for all you have done. I also want to remind everyone that the third week in April is designated as National Volunteer Week. What this means to me is that during this time we’ll pay tribute to all the community volunteers who gave of their time during the volunteer year. Additionally, we will hold a formal dinner on April 22 thanking a select few who stood out during the volunteer year. Your part could be a “thanks” to those you know volunteer, or maybe a pat on the back, or even a hug.
I’m so very proud to acknowledge the contributions our KMC volunteers make to our community every day. You are the “unsung heroes,” and let it be known that neither the Army nor Air Force programs requiring your support could ever function without your selfless service to a good cause. I want to thank all the volunteers in KMC for all you do in making this the “best” military community in Europe!