2005 Emma Marie Baird Award
For Outstanding Volunteer Service in ACS
Mrs. Lorraine Kraus
Redstone Arsenal, AL
There are volunteers who work for community recognition and there are the quiet ones who do volunteer work for what they can give back to the community. Mrs. Lorraine Kraus is that type of volunteer, never seeking recognition for what she does, just being thankful for an opportunity to serve.
Mrs. Kraus started volunteering in January 1996 at Army Community Service (ACS) and has maintained a steady and cheerful volunteer service record. Her jobs vary with ACS' needs and activities, but she can be counted on to provide smiles and a helping hand. Since 1996, she has contributed over 5,508 hours of service to the Redstone Arsenal ACS.
Our agency was greatly affected by downsizing efforts when Mrs. Kraus came on board. During our reduction in staff, her presence was critical to maintaining mission readiness and enhancing the quality of service received by our customers. She provided general program information and insured that client intake forms were completed correctly. This reduced the time program managers spent reviewing paperwork and allowed them to service more customers at a faster rate. She also answered multi-lined phones, assisted walk-in clients, and issued lending closet items.
For years, her organizational and administrative functions have been very instrumental in the smooth operation of our organization. She recorded and typed the ACS weekly staff meeting minutes and insured that each staff member received a copy before the close of business. Initially, this was quite challenging, because she had to learn so many new acronyms. She quickly conquered this challenge by tracking and developing a list of most frequently used acronyms as a reference guide.
Her knack for looking at a problem area and making tactful suggestions streamlined many other daily tasks so more staff time could be dedicated to soldiers and their families' needs. As an example, she reproduced and organized high demand Redstone Arsenal Welcome packets and Standard Installation Topic Exchange System packets so volunteers could quickly give departing soldiers information on their next duty assignment. This initiative significantly reduced soldier's wait time for information.
Thursdays are warmly known as "Kraus" day at ACS because the staff can depend on her to come in and work all day. She oversees the ACS front desk reception station and is the first face that our customers see as they enter our facility. Her warmth and patience sets a comfortable atmosphere for this family oriented organization.
Even though she faces a variety of personal health and age issues, she continues to serve the community because everyone she comes in contact with "is someone's child".
Mrs. Kraus has been a steady presence, slicing cake and serving punch at every open house and special event at ACS since 1996. She serves as the greeter at the ACS Newcomer's Orientation welcoming new arrivals and sharing information about ACS programs and services. She was the refreshment server and cheerleader at the past four annual ACS Special Olympic events. She passes out balloons and ACS information at the annual Month of the Military Child Block Party. She worked at the reception desk for the annual job fairs sponsored by ACS. She staffed the ACS information booth at the installation health fair. Without her participation, that allowed staff to mingle with guests, each event would not have been as much fun for participants.
In August 2002, the Redstone Arsenal ACS relocated to a new building. Mrs. Kraus worked 8 hours a day for a full week organizing, packing boxes, moving and setting up the Family Advocacy Library at the new location. In 2003, she served on a volunteer team for an MWR Chili Cook-off Contest, which instilled camaraderie among the ACS volunteers. She participated in the 2004 Army Family Action Plan as a delegate, reviewing community concerns, and working on improving the quality of life for all.
No job is ever too small or too tedious for Mrs. Kraus. The ACS Coupon Program collects donated coupons from the community to help military families extend their grocery budget. The expired coupons are valid for six months past the expiration date at overseas installations. To save postage costs for ACS, Mrs. Kraus clips the surplus paper and mails as many as 12 packets a month with a coupon value of $1,000 per packet. Her enthusiasm has been very contagious in her quest to assist military families. She recruited Chapel congregants to collect and clip coupons and to return them to her.
Mrs. Kraus also recruited her spouse, brother, and daughter, to volunteer at ACS.
For the past six years, Mrs. Kraus has been solely responsible for tracking and reporting volunteer hours for 60-89 ACS volunteers. Mrs. Kraus developed and initiated a database and several spreadsheets to assist with tracking and generating information needed for a variety of reports. This initiative also insured that our records were accurate and up-to-date.
Mrs. Kraus is a very faithful and reliable volunteer. She puts her heart into every task and takes her volunteer responsibilities seriously. She steps into a job when she is needed and mentors with other volunteers to groom them to take over various positions. She patiently explains how she does a task and quietly encourages others to find solutions that work best for them. She served ACS faithfully, showing concern for her fellow volunteers and ACS programs.
Her "can do" attitude has been a tremendous asset to our organization. The average of her hours does not adequately reflect how valuable she is to ACS. Working for the betterment of all is truly evident in her volunteer contributions.