U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart thanked volunteers for their selfless service April 25, 2013 during the annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, held at the Patch Community Club.
More than 60 local volunteers were recognized for their commitment to the community.
“Winston Churchill once said ‘We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give,’and that is exactly what every volunteer does when they step out on their own time to improve the quality of life in our community,” said Col. John P. Stack, USAG Stuttgart commander.
In 2012, 475 registered volunteers donated a total of 66,303 hours to organizations throughout the Stuttgart military community, according to Winklyn Hayes, the Army Community Service volunteer program manager.
The average cost of a volunteer hour in the U.S. is $21.79, according to www.volunteeringinamerica.gov. This equates to a cost savings of $1,444,742.30 to the garrison in 2012.
“The volunteer hours in this community have led to a substantial amount of cost savings to the garrison. This has become more important than ever as the Department of Defense looks everywhere for ways to trim budgets,” Stack said.
It’s not about the money or recognition, though, according to Army Master Sgt. Rodolfo Fuentes, the senior enlisted advisor for the Operations Section of the Defense Information Security Agency-Europe.
“Being recognized is great, but at the same time it’s just an outstanding thing to be a part of,” said Fuentes, last year’s Military Volunteer of the Year, “We’re a close knit community and we make things happen.”
Rodolfo, along with wife Sylke and son Tyler, were named Volunteer Family of the Year during the ceremony. The Fuentes family assisted numerous programs and organizations during fundraising efforts throughout the year, to include the Air Force Aid Society, Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, American Red Cross and the German/American Women’s Club.
Elizabeth Thayer-Nauer, the former chairman of volunteers for the Stuttgart American Red Cross Station, was named Civilian Volunteer of the Year.
“It’s a great way to connect with other people and agencies while helping out an organization,” said Nauer, who volunteered well over 1,000 hours, working full time at the Red Cross Station. “Volunteers really are the core of this community.”
Other 2012 Volunteer of the Year winners were Army 1st Lt. Lisa Toney (Military), William Goble (Retired Military), and Candace and Camille Carson (Youth).
The categories for this year’s Volunteers of the Year were changed slightly, in part due to a low number of nominations, according to Volunteer Program Manager Hayes.
She also added that ACS can only recognize volunteers who are registered and log their hours into the Volunteer Management Information System.
“We suspect that the actual number is much higher,” said Stack, during his remarks. “As you’re out volunteering this year, explain the importance of registering the hours in the system, so they too can be recognized next year.”
VMIS allows users to search and apply for local opportunities and also records and tracks the hours worked. VMIS can be accessed on the Army OneSource website at www.myarmyonesource.com.
Agencies throughout Stuttgart are always on the lookout for new volunteers … ACS, Red Cross, United Service Organizations, Youth Sports, Stuttgart Theatre Center, just to name a few.
For more information, contact the Army Community Service, Building 2915 on Panzer Kaserne.