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1990 – Mrs. Wanda Otterholt, Fort Huachuca, AZ

Mrs. Wanda Otterholt

Emma Marie Baird Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service

1990 – Mrs. Wanda Otterholt, Fort Huachuca, AZ

Wanda OtterholtMrs. Wanda Otterholt provides sustained superior service to Army Community Service (ACS), soldiers, and family members. Mrs. Otterholt contributed 5,783 hours of service since she began as an ACS volunteer at Fort Huachuca in 1983. Her initiative, leadership, and originality enabled her to develop and manage programs that have directly benefited not only the Fort Huachuca community but other military installations as well. The scope and outstanding nature of her work are exemplary and bring great credit upon herself, Army community Service and this MACOM.

A tireless worker, Mrs. Otterholt earned her ACS 1000 hour bar in only nine months. She has served as chairman of layettes, special projects, and the Widowed Support Center. Although her achievements are many, three stand our as contributions of such significance that they truly represent the spirit of the award. These projects are her service to the Widowed Support Center, her implementation of a layette program, and her work with the ACS Christmas toy drive.

Wanda OtterholtMrs. Otterholt began her affiliation with ACS in 1983. After she co-founded and directed the Widow Support Center , Mrs. Otterholt was instrumental in bringing it under the control of ACS. This Center began as an outreach program to widows and widowers associated with Fort Huachuca. When faced with the loss of a loved one, Mrs. Otterholt and several other widows turned to each other for emotional support. Recognizing the need for organized outreach to widow/widowers in the community, the women conceived the idea of a Widowed Support Center. Using her skills of organization and planning, Mrs. Otterholt brought together resources from diverse agencies on post and utilized these to create the Center. A support group from the center makes regular contact with newly widowed individuals. This group also staffs a 24 hour hotline so there is always someone to offer assistance and comfort. Her efforts have affected over 3000 widow/widowers in Arizona.

Following the devastating air crash in Gander, Mrs. Otterholt was a part of a team that flew to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to give aid and provide information to the surviving family members of the 248 service members who lost their lives.

Mrs. Otterholt’s service to the community spans all ages and ranks. As chairman of the ACS Layette Program, she is responsible for ensuring that all babies born at Raymond W. Bliss Army Hospital to any junior enlisted service member receive a complete layette. Mrs. Otterholt direct the team that creates these items and participates herself. In addition, Mrs. Otterholt organized and directed a year round effort to repair and clean used toys for distribution at Christmas to needy families.

Because of the personal commitment of Mrs. Otterholt ACS has been able to touch the lives of thousands of people in a meaningful way.