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Fort Rucker honors volunteers’ selfless service

Volunteers who were recognized during the Fort Rucker Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony at The Landing gather for a group photo after the ceremony April 25. (Photo by Nathan Pfau0

Volunteers who were recognized during the Fort Rucker Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony at The Landing gather for a group photo after the ceremony April 25. (Photo by Nathan Pfau0

Published: April 29, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 29, 2016) -- It’s often said that volunteers provide an invaluable service that can’t be quantified simply by the hours they work, and Fort Rucker took time to appreciate those who gave of their time to the installation and community.

Fort Rucker honored more than 100 volunteers who contributed more than 100 hours of service to the Army and installation through various efforts, saving Fort Rucker more than $825,000 at a ceremony at The Landing April 25.

Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, was on hand to provide his thanks, and present volunteers with certificates and awards.

“Our nation was formed on a sense of volunteerism,” said the commanding general. “(You) dedicate your time and your energy to make others feel more at home and to provide things for others that they would not otherwise have. Every chance I get to say thank you to each of you is a special one. Truly, thanks for the volunteer time. That’s a special gift that you have and it’s a wonderful example for everybody to see and continue to emulate.”

“Your volunteer spirit and patriotism truly represents what America is all about,” added Col. Shannon T. Miller, Fort Rucker garrison commander. “It is awe inspiring the amount of time that you give selflessly to our community here and, without a doubt, you are absolutely an integral part of making Fort Rucker, the home of Army Aviation, an Army Community of Excellence.”

Volunteers were recognized for dedicating 100-499 hours, as well as for those who contributed more than 500 hours of service. Volunteers of the Year were recognized in six categories: youth, active-duty, adult, family, the Helping Hand Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Angel Brown, Youth Volunteer of the Year – Brown was recognized for her work with the Vacation Bible School, the Midweek’s Children’s Ministry, Kingdom Fest, Bethlehem Village and various seasonal chapel programs.

Staff Sgt. John Koones, Active-Duty Volunteer of the Year – Koones took the initiative to develop programs to assist in day-to-day operations for programs within Army Community Service. He worked weekends and evenings, used his expertise to develop user-friendly tracking programs, as well as deciphered reports with visual cues for staff members to use when briefing the commander.

Sue Hunt, Adult Volunteer of the Year – Hunt serves on the Parish Advisory Council, is a substitute Sunday school teacher, Protestant Women of the Chapel teacher, Vacation Bible School music shop leader, and is willing to serve wherever and whenever needed. She welcomes newcomers into the community, providing direction on chapel ministries and helping people feel connected to Fort Rucker.

Brown family, Volunteer Family of the Year – The Browns support the Soldiers and families of Fort Rucker through their volunteer efforts in the chapel community. They have provided volunteer service throughout the year for season chapel programs, Vacation Bible School, Fall Festival programs, taught classes, served as mentors, guest speakers, advisers and members of the choir. Their hospitality extends to hosting geographical bachelor Soldiers in their home and supporting the chapel community in whatever ways they are needed.

Tori Evans, Helping Hand Award – Evans expressed that she enjoys telling stories of those serving through her photography. She provides her photographic expertise at activities hosted by the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Army Community Service, the Fort Rucker Primary School, as well as the “Army Flier.” Her commitment and professional approach develops strong relationships with staff, volunteers and students, while ensuring that each event is captured for historical record.

Mary Jane Collins, Lifetime Achievement Award – Collins is a life-long volunteer, who has, over the decades, contributed her time and talents to numerous programs in various leadership roles. As a military spouse, she supported the Army and her husband through 28 years of active service as a member and officer/board member of the officers spouses clubs at Fort Walters, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Mannheim, Germany; and Fort Rucker. She has served as an officer in PWOC, taught Bible school, tutored at the elementary school, was first lady of the Lyster Army Hospital Medical Company, a member of the Medical Wives Club and a member of the Flatiron Wives Club. She currently serves as a board member for the Fort Rucker Retired Officers Wives Association as the liaison, educating the community about the mission and purpose of ROWA. She is also a ROWA writer for the Military Officers Association of America and Fort Rucker Chapter newsletter, as well as the ROWA volunteer coordinator for the Fort Rucker Community Spouses Club annual Sweetheart Bingo event and Hollyday Bazaar.

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