By USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 18-24, the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Army Community Services hosted the 2021 Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, Apr. 23, in a different way.
In pre-COVID years, all the community volunteers would gather in the Patch Community Club and receive rounds of applause for the many personal hours they had given to the community; then the dreaded COVID virus infiltrated the community in 2020 and the ceremony was reduced to a virtual name recognition via the garrison commander’s Facebook live town hall.
Although COVID has overstayed its welcome in 2021, and has kept our community volunteers from being thanked and showered with applauses from a grateful Stuttgart Community, they were personally thanked and given an elbow bump by the garrison commander albeit it from the driver’s seat of their car as they paraded by a small group of admires in front of the garrison headquarters building.
“We wanted our volunteers to know we truly appreciate them, and for them to see and feel that appreciation in a special way,” said Army Volunteer Corp Coordinator, Joy Ashley. “Volunteers have always been the backbone of this community, and they certainly proved that during the trying times of 2020.”
Despite the pandemic, volunteers continued to give of themselves to several causes, most notably the Concierge Shopping Program in which volunteer contributions has had a major impact on the wellbeing of quarantined community members.
“People across this community have risen to the occasion and gone out to help their neighbors or people they don’t even know, and they did so without hesitation when there was a need,” said U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Commander, Col. Jason Condrey. “This is just a small token of our appreciation for the incredible contributions they have made to our community during a tough and challenging year.”
All volunteers with at least 50 certified hours for calendar year 2020 received a certificate. The Commander’s Award of Excellence was earned by those who volunteered 750 or more hours.
Mary and David Jeffcoat have enjoyed volunteering 160 hours through 80 concierge shopping trips. Mary said giving back allows her to feel like a part of something bigger.
“Volunteering during a pandemic, for people in quarantine, is new to all of us,” said Jeffcoat. “It meets a basic need for subsistence, and a bigger need for feeling like you matter in your community. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve here.”
Volunteers are always needed in the community. If you are interested, please visit https://vmis.armyfamilywebportal.com/ to register for an account and search open volunteer positions. The Volunteer Management Information System (VMIS) is also a way to track volunteer hours. For more information please contact Army Community Service by phone 09641-70-596-3362.
Volunteers of the Year winners
Youth: Isabella Berg-Patton
Spouse: Zoe Doyle-Kalinowski
Military: Dana Wilkins
Civilian: Lizette Howard
Senior: Deborah Teegan
Team: American Red Cross Clinic Volunteer Team
Commander’s Volunteer of Excellence Award