Humphreys volunteers recognized for efforts with awards, dinner
Image by USAG-Humphreys
Story and photos By W. Wayne Marlow
USAG Humphreys Public Affairs
CAMP HUMPHREYS — Much of the work that went into a dinner June 3 at the Community Activity Center was done, fittingly enough, by volunteers.
The buffet meal and awards presentation recognized those who have impacted the quality of life for Soldiers, Families, and civilians here.
This year, 2,064 volunteers contributed 80,000 hours to 132 organizations. Those volunteers include five persons who were given awards at the dinner. The recipents were: Staff Sgt. Jason Bauer, Active Duty Volunteer of the Year; Sgt. Lee, Dong-woong, KATUSA Soldier Volunteer of the Year; Tenesha Bernard, Family Member Volunteer of the Year; Christina Mann, Youth Volunteer of the Year; and Michael Tatum, Retiree Volunteer of the Year. The 4-2 Attack Battalion received Volunteer Unit of the Year recognition.
But while these awardees left with a glass trophy, all volunteers were recognized.
“We know the important role volunteers play in the lives of Soldiers and Families,” said Suzanne James, Army Community Service director for United States Army Garrison Humphreys. “Tonight, we celebrate these volunteers who contribute every day to enhance our quality of life.”
Colonel Joseph P. Moore, USAG Humphreys commander, touched on some of those areas during his remarks. Volunteers, he noted, have roles in sports, youth organizations, chapel services, and more.
Moore said that the day after the awards dinner, “There will be baseball and softball all day long, with over 200 players, only because we have volunteer coaches.”
Another area where volunteers impact children on Humphreys is scouting.
“We would always have Girl Scouts, but would we have the number of girls involved if it weren’t for people like Billy Black,” Moore asked rhetorically. “Even if you are only with them for a year or two, they will remember you for the rest of their lives because of the impact you have.”
Moore said that there are sports and academic options available to youth here because volunteers understand that “coming to Korea should not be a sacrifice for your kids.”
And for Soldier volunteers, that means squeezing time into an already crowded week.
“Soldiers who volunteer to pick up trash or help an orphanage just gave six to eight hours of their life on top of the 60 hours they put into the Army that week, and doing it in a country they’re only visiting,” Moore said.
And those Soldiers, in turn, are supported by a USO led by manager Tami Hager that gives so much, Moore noted. “There’s a concert coming in a couple of weeks, and Tami doesn’t have to do that,” Moore said. “She doesn’t have to do the free lunches, the delicious doughnuts and coffee, and bring in entertainment.”
He also made note of a volunteer idea that the Army recently recognized with a service-wide award.
“If you were going to walk into the village tonight – and I wouldn’t recommend it – but if you did, you would see BOSS Soldiers who agree to stay sober and watch for Soldiers who have too much do drink,” Moore said.
He also noted the Army Family Action Plan, “a town hall meeting on steroids,” which “brings good ideas to us and good results,” including some of which have spread through the Army.
Lieutenant Col. Thomas Rowell, commander of 4-2 Attack Battalion, spoke about why volunteering was important and how to do it. He noted that his unit has Soldiers with advanced degrees and “it would be poor leadership to not take advantage of it. It’s also important to show what right looks like to first-time Soldiers and how to go about it.”
The unit’s efforts include the Good Neighbor Program, where Soldiers work with Korean civilians in area beautification, English language programs, and orphanages. Rowell said the program is one of his unit’s top five priorities and that the program leader has a seat at the table during unit meetings, highlighting its importance.
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