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Volunteer Can Be Key to Gaining New Perspective

Volunteer Can Be Key to Gaining New Perspective

Source: Sharon McBride, Fort Richardson PAO

Alaska - volunteering new perspective

30 January 2009

Volunteer Can Be Key to Gaining New Perspective

Sharon McBride, Fort Richardson PAO

Volunteering…what's in it for you?

Volunteering can be the best way to make time go by fast, especially when a loved one is deployed, said Mike Spann, the Fort Richardson Employment Readiness Program manager and the U.S. Army Volunteer Corps coordinator.

In the next few months, more than 3,500 Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, will be heading to Afghanistan. That translates into a lot of spouses who will be wondering how to fill their days once their loved ones are thousands of miles away.

So why not give the installation Volunteer Corps coordinator a call?

To date, there are more than 100 volunteer positions available on Fort Richardson alone, Spann said. Fort Wainwright also has a lengthy list of open volunteer slots.

Housing mayors, unit activity coordinators, family readiness group leaders, FRG newsletter editors, FRG unit fundraisers and FRG secretaries are just a few of the volunteer positions which are currently open.

If working with an FRG isn't your thing, there are also a variety of volunteer jobs available at local schools, the American Red Cross, the Armed Services YMCA, the post chapels and the thrift shops, Spann said.

"People who volunteer their time and talent are real assets to the community," Spann said. "We couldn't get along without them."

Last year alone, volunteers at Fort Richardson donated up more than 75,000 hours in volunteer time, Spann said. That time, when translated into hourly wages, resulted in a $1,469,892.18 savings to the Fort Richardson community.

"We are able to accomplish so much through our volunteers," Spann said.

Volunteering doesn't have to be all about sacrifice or doing the right thing.

"Volunteering can also hone skills," Spann said. "Those skills can be put onto a resume for future job opportunities."

According to, adding volunteer work to a resume is especially helpful if someone is just starting out, changing careers or returning to work. Also, even though volunteer skills don't pay the bills, volunteer experience could be the ticket to a future paycheck.

Volunteering can also be socially fulfilling.

"It can get you out if the house," Spann said. "Being active and interacting with other people is just what is needed to get through a deployment.  It's also an opportunity to make friends and build up a support network."

For spouses who find themselves in a single parent role due to a deployment, it can also be an opportunity to get away from the children for a while to talk with adults while working toward something positive, he said.

"Volunteering can be the key to maintaining a 'normal' life," Spann said.

For the most up to date information available on volunteer positions, interested persons should go online to Registering at the site is necessary to see a list of available volunteering opportunities for forts Richardson and Wainwright.

"Gaining new experiences through volunteering can be fun," Spann said. "The command group definitely cherishes their volunteers."

For additional information about volunteering on Fort Richardson, call Mike Spann at 384-6716. Interested persons at Fort Wainwright should call Mary Cheney at 353-2382.

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