By Spc. Scyrrus June C. Corregidor
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Fort Carson honored more than 30 volunteers for their dedication and contributions, during the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Annual Volunteer Award Recognition Ceremony May 12, 2021, at the Elkhorn Conference Center at Fort Carson, Colorado.
The Fort Carson Volunteer Award Recognition ceremony recognizes outstanding volunteers for their service to the Fort Carson community.
“Volunteers are priceless individuals who give their personal time, knowledge and skills to assist others,” said Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson.
Volunteers play an important role in improving the quality of life for Soldiers and Family members.
“The importance of volunteerism has to come from your heart; when people volunteer, they’re not doing it for monetary gain and personal gain as a matter of fact — they’re doing it because they want to help and serve others,” said Sasha Moen, adviser, Soldier and Family Readiness Group (SFRG), 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Inf. Div.
Helping and serving others is important to the community.
“When we do this for other people, I think it makes our community better, stronger and, most importantly, it instills value in other people and when people can sense that they belong in a community … (the) community is just that much stronger,” Moen said.
Volunteers who contributed 500 hours of service to two or more organizations or 600 hours to one organization earned the Exemplary Volunteer Service Award, which was presented to 25 recipients who were recognized as being top volunteers for 2020 for their unit, directorate or organization.
Five volunteers were awarded the adult Volunteer of the Year Award for contributing 750 hours or more of volunteer time and one volunteer was awarded for the Youth Volunteer of the Year.
Two Soldiers were awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM), which recognized their volunteer efforts that went beyond the scope of their military duties for the Mountain Post.
The 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson Steadfast and Loyal Volunteer Hall of Fame inducted Retired Col. Clara Huff, American Red Cross, Evans Army Community Hospital, who logged more than 20,000 hours since 2004 and Marisol Wentling, Pikes Peak Chapter Association of the U.S. Army, who has logged more than 4,000 volunteer hours across 25 organizations, while encouraging her peers to lead volunteer opportunities. She set an example for youth volunteerism at Fort Carson and in the local community.
Fort Carson community volunteers served with the American Red Cross, Army Community Services, SFRGs, Fort Carson Thrift Shop, Mountain Post Spouses Club, Boy Scouts of America, Child Youth Services programs and other area agencies and organizations.
Fort Carson currently has more than 5,200 registered volunteers. Volunteers contributed more than 179,000 hours and saved Fort Carson $4.2 million during fiscal 2020.
Although the number for volunteers was lower this past year, the passion and persistence the volunteers portrayed throughout the year — despite some really difficult times — did not change the success of the program, said Kristen Kea, chief, Army Community Service, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR).
Despite the difficult times, volunteers encourage and serve others in the community.
“It’s a privilege to be able to encourage and serve others because when we do that, we are reinforcing that value in people,” said Moen. “I think that is important in the Army community and especially for Family members, for them to feel known and valued in this Army community.”