By S.J. Grady
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
Stuttgart military community volunteers contributed 80,416 hours of service last year, worth exactly $1,813,380.80.
This amount is based on volunteer hours recorded in the Volunteer Management Information System using $22.55 as the average value of a volunteer hour.
While the estimate helps to quantify the impact of those who make a difference by selflessly dedicating their time, talents and energy, most will agree their value is immeasurable.
After all, volunteers can be found in every quality of life program in the Stuttgart military community: coaching youth sports, supporting chapel programs, assisting in the schools and in Scouting programs, organizing the service birthday balls.
“Stuttgart volunteering touches all areas of our community, thanks to the efforts of the many organizations that are active in our community … ,” said Col. Glenn K. Dickenson, the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart commander, during the annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony held April 17 at the Swabian Special Events Center.
The ceremony honored all 635 registered volunteers and those who made significant contributions over the past year.
About 40 percent of the volunteers, 274 to be precise, received certificates of appreciation for giving at least 50 hours of volunteer time in 2014.
Dickenson and Heidi Malarchik, the USAG Stuttgart deputy to the commander, recognized those who donated more than 1,000 volunteer hours each during the course of the volunteer year. Shannon Charlton, Roswitha Cook, Jacquelyn Crawford, Thomas Fray, Gudrun Kaper, Priscilla Maxwell, Cynthia Owens, Sherry Snider, Mary Stewart, Brenda Gonzales-Sullivan and Susan Tipton all received the Commander’s Volunteer of Excellence award.
Earlier in the year volunteer organizations and units nominated their “most valuable players” for Volunteers of the Year awards.
Abigail Argo, Patch High School ROTC, was the sole nominee in the Youth category. Civilian nominees were Kelly Just, Child, Youth and School Services Youth Sports; Lauren Jelle, Stuttgart Community Spouses Club; and Alexis Kelley, USAG Stuttgart Army Substance Abuse Program. James Joyce, USAG Stuttgart Retiree Support Center, and Edwin Jusino-Vega, USAG Stuttgart Central Processing Center; were the Military Retiree nominees. Nan Singh (who recently retired from the Army), Arts and Crafts Center, Kelley Barracks, was the sole Military nominee. The Spouse category nominees were Gretchen Cooper, Stuttgart Community Spouses Club; Cindy Kim, Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society; Mary Stewart, U.S. Africa Command Family Readiness Group; and Susan Tipton, American Red Cross Stuttgart.
According to Lt. Col. James Lockridge, an engineer with Special Operations Command Africa, and emcee for the ceremony, the nominations were rated by a panel of judges who considered the volunteers’ scope of responsibility, their impact on the organization or community, their accomplishments and demonstration of character.
The 2014 Volunteers of the Year were: Abagail Argo, Youth; Susan Tipton, Spouse; Kelly Just, Civilian; Nan Singh, Military; and James Joyce, Military Retiree.
In addition to the award, each of the Volunteers of the Year received a $50 Exchange gift card.
A reception followed the ceremony and included food and live music.