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Joint Base San Antonio celebrates its dedicated volunteers

By David DeKunder | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | April 23, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Celebrating the dedicated service of individuals and groups who have devoted their time helping members of the military community and remembering a beloved volunteer, Joint Base San Antonio held its annual Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center April 18.

JBSA members were recognized for their voluntary work in 2017, by helping at various organizations that support and assist active-duty members, military families, retirees, government civilians and youth.

The theme of the ceremony, “JBSA Celebrates Volunteers,” was carried out as volunteer award nominees paraded into the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC auditorium at the beginning of the ceremony to the playing of “Celebration,” the 1980s song by Kool & The Gang.

Presenting awards and giving remarks at the ceremony were Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander; Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, Navy Medicine Education, Training and Logistics Command commander; and Robert Naething, deputy to the commanding general, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army).

Ceremony emcees were Senaida Aranda, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC program support assistant, and D.C. Lanier, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC work life specialist.

Awards were presented in nine categories to JBSA members, including Large Group Volunteer of the Year, Interservice Physician Assistant Student Society at the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston; Small Group Volunteer of the Year, Wilford Hall Auxiliary at JBSA-Lackland; Family Group Volunteer of the Year, the Dirner Family, 37th Training Wing at JBSA-Lackland; Volunteer Youth of the Year, Daniel Lamoureux, Warrior Family Support Center at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston; Active Duty Volunteer of the Year, Staff Sgt. Jamie Hash, 1st Manpower Requirements Squadron at JBSA-Randolph; Family Member Volunteer of the Year, Alfredo Santayana, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC; Retiree Volunteer of the Year, Freddy Baker, 59th Medical Support Group Volunteer Services Office; Civilian Volunteer of the Year, Kent Gibbons, United Service Organizations; and the Volunteer Excellence Award to four individuals; Sandra Hurt, Ena McClure, Maria Scarberry and Elizabeth Schreckhise.

A total of 86 nominations covering all nine award categories were submitted from JBSA members.

Pringle thanked the more than 10,000 JBSA members who put in 403,900 volunteer hours in 2017, which came out to a monetary value in volunteer hours of $9.7 million. According to Independent Sector, an organization of nonprofits, foundations and corporations, the estimated value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour.

“All those 10,000 (volunteers) counted and logged more than 400,000 hours to make our mission run and to make our community better – that is no small feat,” Pringle said. “You are doing it because you know it’s the right thing to do and you are trying to make a difference. It’s about making us better and making us stronger. This is Joint Base San Antonio at its best.”

McCormick-Boyle said JBSA members are making a difference in their community and in the lives of those they help through their volunteerism.

“Volunteerism is the heart of what we do,” McCormick-Boyle said. “As a community, we are taught to make the world a better place. And you are doing that in your efforts.”

The ceremony was dedicated in the memory of longtime JBSA volunteer Charles Shelby, who passed away in early January. Shelby was a volunteer for 30 years for Army Community Service and the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC, where he worked in information and referral.

Lanier said Shelby, a 31-year Army veteran, was a selfless volunteer who provided exemplary service to and encouraged service members and their families.

“His very presence improved the quality of life for, not only our staff, but for our patrons as well,” Lanier said. “Mr. Charles was not only a terrific volunteer, he was an icon of Army Community Service and ultimately the Joint Base San Antonio community. Mr. Charles is a man who is dearly missed.”

Lanier said Shelby remembered the birthdays of those colleagues he volunteered with by bringing roses and donuts for them.

After Lanier’s remarks, a moment of silence was held for Shelby.

In remembrance of Shelby, a rose was placed in the seat of each person who was nominated for an award and donuts, along with other refreshments, were served at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony was held during National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 15-21, which recognizes individuals in both the U.S. and Canada who give their time volunteering for several causes.