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Man of the Year: Local honored by club for altruism

Hector Cardona, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence G3 Airspace Management, was recognized April 10 as Man of the Year during Enterprise’s Pilot Club’s annual Civic Night ceremony. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Hector Cardona, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence G3 Airspace Management, was recognized April 10 as Man of the Year during Enterprise’s Pilot Club’s annual Civic Night ceremony. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: May 15, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 15, 2014) -- Volunteers are often the backbone of many communities who do everything from mentoring children to building homes without expecting anything in return.

One such volunteer, Hector Cardona, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence G3 Airspace Management, has been selflessly volunteering for the past 17 years and was recognized as Man of the Year for his unwavering commitment to the Wiregrass area April 10 during Enterprise’s Pilot Club’s annual Civic Night ceremony.

“Hector is an inspiration to the citizens of Enterprise as he gives unselfishly to his community, church, schools and civic organizations,” said Charlene Goolsby, Oscar club official. “He is always eager to lend a hand to help those in need, lead programs, raise funds or mentor youth.”

Goolsby said that Cardona’s altruism has built homes, fed the needy, motivated and inspired youth, and provided countless hours of selfless service.

“Even while working full time, he finds the time to make our community a better place to live and raise a Family,” she said. “(Cardona) is a humble, hard working, devoted servant who sets an example to follow in volunteerism.”

Cardona volunteers for many reasons. The most important, he said, is knowing that he is serving and doing something special for others. That it is a great feeling when he gives himself to a good cause.

Cardona said the smiles that come from others’ faces are more than enough reward.

“(Volunteering gives me) the satisfaction that my efforts are accomplishing something special by making a difference in people`s lives and the community,” he said.

He and his Family spend anywhere from two to six hours a week volunteering.

“We are grateful for all we have been given and we recognize the importance to remember that not everyone is as fortunate as we are,” he said. “My wife and I instill in our children to give back the kindness that has been given to our Family.”

Cardona is involved in many organizations around the county, from the local schools to Habitat for Humanity.

“He frequently participates and assists in Family Services’ programs – setting up food drives and collecting thousands of non-perishable food items and money.  (Cardona) also volunteered with Coffee County Family Services as a volunteer income tax assistant and food drive coordinator,” said Goolsby.

Cardona is an active Coffee County Habitat for Humanity board member – attending monthly meetings to assist with the business of the county unit.

In addition to the many hours devoted to obtaining property and raising funds, Cardona actively recruits volunteers and joins them, on many weekends, during the home building process, said Goolsby.

He is also a member of the Enterprise Civitan Club, and last year helped in the partnership with Habitat for Humanity for an auction fundraiser – raising $6,500.

“He helped everywhere from raising money by selling Vidalia onions, Boston butts and ribs, to being actively involved in the club’s annual dinner auction,” said Goolsby.

He also volunteered time, energy and enthusiasm for Enterprise City Schools to improve the lives of the students and enhance the schools’ environment, continued Goolsby.

According to Goolsby, his past activities at the schools include tutoring, teaching a second language, raising money, creating a school newsletter, planting a garden, heading a Box Tops for Education Program, coordinating school field trips, participating in school physical education events, coordinating scientists and subject matter experts to brief students on science-and technology-related subjects, providing scholarship information and guidance to prepare students for college, and working concessions and ticket stands, as well as the doors at events.

“His primary volunteer work with the Enterprise City Schools last year was being the liaison of the Enterprise Civitan Club to the Enterprise High School Junior Civitan Club,” she said.

“The club was very active in 2013, and he attended monthly meetings, coordinated club activities and ceremonies with outside entities,” she continued. “His contributions were essential to the club being awarded Honors Club of Distinction, an Environmental Awareness Campaign, the Social Causes Awareness Campaign, Junior Civitan Online Banner Patch Award and Junior District Officer of the Year.”

Cardona added that people can learn a lot from volunteering, and that the most important gift a parent can give to a child is the gift of instilling selfless service.

“You not only acquire new skills and meet people that have the same passions that you do, but you recognize that there are individuals living in our communities that constantly struggle to make ends meet, and that by our actions we can make a difference in their lives,” he said.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/126100/

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