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PHOTO CAPTION:  Melissa Gregory, a Family Readiness Group volunteer with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, poses with Sara Thingvold, 34th CAB FRG Leader, after receiving the National Guard Family Program's Region 5 Volunteer of the Year Award during a ceremony at Army Aviation Support Facility #1, in St. Paul, July 20, 2013.  Photo credit:  Sgt. Patrick Loch

July 23, 2013
By Sgt. Patrick Loch

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Melissa Gregory, a Family Readiness Group volunteer with the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, received the National Guard Family Program’s Region 5 Volunteer of the Year Award during a ceremony at Army Aviation Support Facility #1, in St. Paul, on July 20.

“It’s exciting in that it’s the first time a FRG volunteer from the 34th CAB is receiving this award, and it validates that our program is working,” said Lt. Col. Gregory D. Fix, Army Aviation Support Facility commander. “Melissa is an example of that.

“She is the first Family Readiness Group lLeader from the 34th CAB to be recognized nationally. Additionally, she is one of only three FRG Leaders from Minnesota that have been recognized in the last six years at the national level.”

After Fix’s introduction, Sara Thingvold, the 34th CAB’s FRG Leader, took to the front of the room to speak about Gregory’s accomplishments before presenting her with the award and flowers.

“Melissa is an exceptional person,” Thingvold said. “She has the passion, commitment, loyalty and respect to be a successful volunteer. Not only did she serve her family, but she also served all of the Soldiers and their families.”

“FRG leaders are the glue that holds the families together while Sservice members are deployed,” said Fix. “It is important that Ssoldiers deployed overseas know their families are taken care of during their absence, and that families know they have someone to listen and assist them throughout the deployment process."

Gregory was the FRG Leader for A Company, 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade during their latest deployment to Kuwait in 2012.

The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually by National Guard Family Programs to one adult volunteer from each of the ten regions that show outstanding and exceptional service to the family program.

Learn more about Family Readiness Groups at www.BeyondTheYellowRibbon.org/family-readiness-groups.