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2004 Very Important Patriot Award - Charlene Jenkins

2004 VIP Award - Charlene Jenkins

Charlene Jenkins - VIP Award Recipient

Fort Hood, TX

Charlene Jenkins, Army National Guard spouse, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been selected as one of five recipients of the Very Important Patriot Award for 2004. . Each of the five VIP recipients and a companion will be flown to Washington, DC, in November of 2004. During their stay in the Nation's Capital they receive their cash award of $1000, meet with senior leaders of their individual services, visit with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill, and meet the generous sponsors of the VIP Program.

The Very Important Patriot (VIP) Program, administered by the National Military Family Association, recognizes exceptional volunteers worldwide, who are chosen for their outstanding service, which contributes to improving the quality of life in their military and neighboring communities. Active duty, reserve component, and retired military members of the seven uniformed services and their family members and survivors are eligible to receive the awards.
Charlene Jenkins has shown exceptional leadership and volunteerism as the Family Readiness Group Coordinator of the 769th Engineer battalion.

Through forward vision Charlene took the reigns of the Family Readiness group during the deployment of the 769th Engineer battalion to Afghanistan and transformed the nearly defunct group into a lively and viable organization. Charlene, with the support of other members, mobilized sponsors and resources to deliver solutions to community problems.

Charlene jumped in with both feet and quickly opened an account for the organization, mobilized the community Mayor to help support the readiness group efforts, and organized countless efforts to enable the group to support the soldiers and family members.

Through honest, frank communication Charlene developed trust within the family network. She and her small task force began a newsletter that was updated by the commander from Afghanistan weekly or bi-weekly. This form of dialogue proved to be invaluable to the members of the community. With the help of the task force, the installation was becoming a community.

Charlene demonstrated the leadership necessary to balance of work and fun. She organized activities including the Octoberfest, blood drives, and a Christmas celebration. Games, food and fun for all the families of Alpha Company were provided during their now annual Octoberfest. EVERY child received a gift during the Christmas Celebration. The office of the mayor provided Santa a lift on the local fire engine to arrive in style for the children. In addition to the gifts, the local credit union was solicited for door prizes. In addition, the credit union set up a booth to discuss financial planning with any of the family members. The last event of record was a spring fest. During this festival, the soldiers and their families were provided with an Easter egg hunt, baskets for the children, a crawfish boil, and most importantly, information on how to make the readiness group better for members.

Charlene has demonstrated the qualities of initiative, reliability, and responsibility. Her efforts and projects not only enhanced the quality of life for our families and soldiers, but also further increased the Army's ability to continue its fight on terrorism. Her phenomenal volunteer service stands as an inspiring example and with great pride NMFA names Charlene Jenkins as a Very Important Patriot.