Ceremony honors Fort Irwin ‘Volunteers of the Year’
Volunteers have made such an impact at Fort Irwin, that their time and energy was quantified as a $600,920.76 value during a 12-month period ending in April.
That effort was put forth by approximately 600 active volunteers here, according to Tony Untalan, manager of the Volunteer Program with Army Community Service. Those volunteers contributed 22,814 hours in endeavors that included coaching youth sports, leading Cub Scouts, teaching Sunday school, sustaining unit Family Readiness Groups, supporting Fort Irwin schools, and assisting ACS.
At the 2014 Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, April 11, 21 volunteers were honored as “Volunteers of the Year.” Each year the volunteer program asks the Fort Irwin community to nominate volunteers for the recognition. At the ceremony, National Training Center and Fort Irwin Chief of Staff Col. Richard Wilson presented a certificate to those selected.
“On behalf of Maj. Gen. Ted Martin and the command team, we are truly, truly honored to have a team of volunteers,” Wilson said at the start of the ceremony. “It’s phenomenal, especially in terms of what the team does here for the community day in and day out. Without that support we would definitely be challenged.”
Untalan explained that an installation benefits from people who volunteer.
“We’re surrounded by good people,” Untalan said. “That’s what really turns a duty station into a home – it’s good people and … smiles and good personalities.”
The Viers children, McKinley and Michaela, were all smiles as they held a ceremonial check during the event. According to mom Serina, the girls have volunteered at the Fort Irwin community garden, at Winter Fest, and helped with sandbagging Weed Army Community Hospital last year. Currently they are helping mom and dad, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jeffery Viers, with their volunteer jobs as coaches of T-ball here.
“It’s fun to work with the kids and help them learn a new sport,” Michaela, 11, said.
McKinley, 8, has helped with the ACS campaign to raise funds for holiday food baskets.
“[My favorite volunteer job was] raising money for ACS baskets, so Soldiers that do not have enough food for the holidays will be sure to have a good meal,” McKinley stated.
Viers stated that in 2012, her daughters raised $500 at the Strike Zone “Bowl-a-Thon” for ACS, prior to the winter holiday period; last year they challenged themselves to beat a goal and raised more than $1,000.
The entire Viers family was also honored as “Volunteer Family of the Year” at the ceremony.