Fort Gordon honors its volunteers with President’s Volunteer Service Award
Col. Samuel G. Anderson, the Fort Gordon garrison commander, presented the silver level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award to five individuals who completed between 250 to 499 volunteer service hours and seven earned the gold level, which required volunteering 500 or more hours in a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime.
Award recipients were Allie Fordham, Stephanie Garwold, Sgt. Robert Llewellyn, Belinda Oyer, Lori Pflieger, Teri Ryan, Angela Ward, KatyAnn Coulter, Julia Maldonado, Staff Sgt. Gregory Rozzo, Tracey Sammons, and Kelly Townsend. Each honoree received a certificate from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, a letter signed by President Barack Obama and a lapel pin.
The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers make in our communities. The Council created the President’s Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans, who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. The program continues as an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The service of these volunteers has saved the Army and Fort Gordon a great deal of money over time. In 2013, at Fort Gordon, 3,905 active volunteers logged in 62,480 hours, according to Lynn Harshman, the installation Army Volunteer coordinator. “Since volunteer time is invaluable, if we were to contract for the services provided by volunteers, it would cost $1,387,200.”
According to the Independent Sector article on National Value of Volunteer Time, in Georgia the hourly rate wage is $22.55. “Most of our volunteers do the work of recreation and sports assistants, administrative assistants, instructors, and other technical positions, and would earn a salary far above the entry level or minimum wage category,” Harshman explained. “Our volunteers support 96 agencies, organizations and units on post.”
Many of the men and women honored at the ceremony volunteer for a variety of reasons. Teri Ryan, Army Family Team Building Program manager, earned the gold level President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering more than 1,900 hours in support of the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre.
“My favorite part of volunteering is the people I volunteer with,” Ryan said. “I have formed some lasting friendships with people that I may never have met, if it weren’t for volunteering.”
KatyAnn Coulter volunteers for a different reason. “I volunteer because people get so involved in their own lives and volunteering helps me step out of my comfort zone and see that there is way more out there than just my life,” she said. “I feel like it is something I should do because I want and not because I have to.”
Coulter wants to encourage people to take a step out of their normal routine and see that there are other people besides them out there.
Anyone can volunteer. It’s easy. Those volunteering on post must be registered in the defense web program Volunteer Management Information Systems, according to Harshman. “ All service members, whether they volunteer on or off post are required to track their volunteer involvement and community service in VMIS,” Harshman said. “Monthly workshops are conducted at the Fort Gordon Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation computer lab on setting up a volunteer account in VMIS. Check the Army Community Service website, www.gordon.army.mil/acs for the training calendar.”