Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
The volunteer force that works on Fort Carson spent the afternoon honoring its most dedicated members May 18 at the Elkhorn Conference Center.
“The strength of the Soldier is in the Family, the strength of the Family is in the community, the strength in the community is in those who serve and those who volunteer,” said Col.
Robert F. McLaughlin, garrison commander. “You represent the best in what we are here at Fort Carson, (with your) willingness to volunteer to help those who serve, (to) help alleviate stress on those that give so much.”
After opening remarks from McLaughlin, the guests of the ceremony took part in a catered lunch before listening to the guest speaker for the day, Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, who praised the efforts and dedication of the volunteers.
“You have no more time than anyone else,” Perkins said of the volunteers. “You just have more heart than everyone else. And, you pour your heart, not only into your personal lives, supporting your Family, but into really raising everyone else up, supporting everyone else here at Fort Carson and (4th Inf. Div).”
There were approximately 150,000 hours worked last year by volunteers, Perkins said.
“Those Soldiers, as they walk off the plane … know that they are coming back to a community with wide open arms,” Perkins said, “one that has taken care of their Families, one that has supported them while they were gone and one that makes them proud to have done what they did.”
Various awards were given out to volunteers for giving 250 to more than 750 hours of their time during the last year, as well as awards for youth volunteers who had given at least 100 hours of service to the Fort Carson community.
Joey Bautista, Fort Carson Army Volunteer Corps manager, may have said it best.
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap,” he said, “If you want happiness for a day, go fishing … if you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone. Inspire somebody – be a volunteer.”