More than 3,700 volunteers were honored at a Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, April 20 at the Nehelani on Schofield Barracks.
The ceremony was held to recognize the outstanding contributions of volunteers across the installation. This year’s ceremony theme was “The Spirit of America.”
The acting Chief of Army Community Service, Brian Dougherty, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. During his opening remarks he said, “The dedicated volunteers answered the call to duty and today we honor them.”
Volunteers logged more than 132,000 volunteer hours of community service. The estimated value of their service in annual savings to the community stood at an impressive $3 million.
Guest Speaker Maj. Gen. Eric T. Olsen, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and U.S. Army, Hawaii, personally thanked the volunteers.
“The volunteers here shaped the history of this command. There was no way victory could have been achieved in the two regions of Iraq and Afghanistan without the efforts here of the Corp of Volunteers.”
More than 50 units and organizations submitted names of deserving volunteers and agencies across the installation. A representative from each unit accepted the certificates of appreciation from Command Sgts. Maj. Willie C. Tate and Bruce D. Roberts on behalf of their units. The certificates would be handed out at a later date during unit ceremonies.
Other agencies and units also received recognition for their volunteer work. The American Red Cross, Army Community Service, community chapels, troops of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the YMCA, and various post elementary schools were among the agencies.
A volunteer nominating committee selected 16 volunteers from the 3,700 to compete for the Volunteer of Merit Award. The award requires written justification from the nominating agency or command, and each nominee must meet several selection criteria, which looked at hours served, type of service and impact on the community.
Nominated volunteers were Rachelle Lemasters, Iris Bennett, Susan Funcheon, Kimberlee Chatelain, Christine Pagan, Robertta Cole, Tina Aker, Joan Kaminski, Kelly Sutterfield, Becky Poppleton, Anisha Donegan, Jeanette McMahon, Staci Hale, Judith Rossi, Lindsey Jones and Maria Altavilla.
After the 16 nominees were introduced, eight went on to receive the 2004 Volunteer of Merit Award: Susan Funcheon, 125th Finance Battalion; Kimberlee Chatelain, 2nd Bn. 5th Infantry Bn.; Christine Pagan, B Company, 214th Aviation Regiment; Robertta Cole, Hui O’ Na Wahine; Tina Aker, Schofield Main Post Chapel; Kelly Sutterfield, 58th Avn. Rgt.; Anisha Donegan, 2-11th Field Artillery Bn.; and Judith Rossi, American Red Cross.
Kelly Sutterfield, prior to being awarded, expressed she was both overwhelmed and honored by just the nomination.
Before the ceremony ended, a quilt made by Ana Despault, an ACS volunteer, was presented to Vicki Olson, wife of the guest speaker. Despault donated the quilt titled “Lightning Strikes the Desert” to hang in the division headquarters.
The quilt featured a desert camouflage backdrop with the division crest, as well as crests of units that served in the Middle East this past year.
The ceremony ended with Dougherty’s closing remarks, praising the time and effort put in by all of the 2004 volunteers.
“Volunteers are one of the Army’s greatest assets,” he said. “We are all truly honored by your presence here today.”