Fort Bliss honors volunteers for 120,000 hours of service

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 11:13pm

There are about 30,000 Soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss, and another 10,000 civilians who contribute to the post’s workforce, but there is another working population — also counted in the thousands — that makes the post run smoothly.

That population is the post’s 5,000 volunteers, said Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, at the “Mission: Possible” Fort Bliss Annual Volunteer Ceremony held at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center Friday.

Volunteers contribute an extra 120,000 working hours to the post, MacFarland said, and that equates to almost $3 million in labor.

“What do they do?” MacFarland asked. “Well, they’re in our classrooms. They’re in our chapels. They’re leading our Scouts. They’re volunteering at the USO. They’re our Family Readiness Groups. They’re in our gyms teaching classes. They’re doing all sorts of great things to help all ages and all walks of life.”

Tephanie Hopper, master of ceremonies and Fort Bliss Army Volunteer Corps Manager, said the ceremony continued a 40-year tradition President Richard Nixon started in 1974 with a proclamation that started National Volunteer Week.

Nixon encouraged people to get out and volunteer and to honor those who have donated countless hours for the betterment of their community and the American way of life, Hopper said.

The ceremony’s title, “Mission Possible,” a riff on the “Mission Impossible” television series and movies, honors the selfless service and devotion volunteers exhibit when they volunteer, Hopper said.

“Whether it is coaching youth, teaching or supporting volunteer Soldiers as they deploy, volunteers make the mission possible,” Hopper said.

The evening’s guest speaker was Emma Acosta, City Representative for District 3 and a longtime El Paso volunteer. The word volunteer was first recorded in 1755, Acosta noted, and it was associated with people who volunteered to serve in the military.

The American Red Cross, which Clara Barton spearheaded as a volunteer organization in 1881, remains largely a volunteer organization, and it is a good example of how one person and one organization can make a difference in the lives of many, Acosta said.

Acosta urged the volunteers in attendance to recognize how much of a positive difference they make in others’ lives.

Acosta told the story of a woman walking along a beach with many starfish on it. The woman picked them up one by one and threw them back into the ocean. A man asked her how she thought she was making a difference, since there were so many starfish on the beach.

The woman picked up one more starfish, threw it into the ocean and said, “It made a difference to that one.”


Fort Bliss Annual Volunteer Ceremony awardees


Fort Bliss Unit/Agency of the Year

Alice Coleman, Army Community Service

Ann Detavernier, Old Fort Bliss

Staff Sgt. Kevin Faust, USASMA

Stacy Hare, 3rd BCT

Kim Herring, 2nd BCT

Kimberly Hobgood, 4th BCT

Larry Howey, Staff Judge Advocate

Merika Kolowich, 3rd BCT

Mary Fran Lemar, WBAMC

Gilbert Maxwell, OCSA

Jamie Mize, 204th Military Intelligence

Lauren Mott, 1st BCT

Eliza Ortega, Operation Santa Claus

Lt. Col. Robert Overgaard, Joint Task Force North

Michelle Pereza, 15th Sustainment

Jennifer Richardson, 11th BDE

Jessica Robbins, ASYMCA

Kari Robinson, Fort Bliss Sports/Fitness/Aquatics

Ruth Santangelo, NCOWC

Debra Santiago, 1st BCT

Charles Smith, American Red Cross

Bill Stapleton, USO

Spc. Matthew Stokes, BOSS

Charly Wylie, 1st CAB


Fort Bliss Outstanding Youth Volunteer

Jacqueline Briddell

Matthew Hopper

Victoria Pereza


Fort Bliss Outstanding Ambassador Volunteer

Kim Bowman

Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Platt

Jennifer Richardson


Fort Bliss Outstanding Soldier Volunteer

1st Lt. Blake Davenport

Sgt. 1st Class Emerson Hazzard

Spc. Carlos Hernandez

Staff Sgt. Tommy Johnson

1st Lt. Joseph Librande

Spc. Joshua Martin

1st Lt. Sisteria Mixson

Sgt. 1st Class Ariana Pickens

Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Platt

Spc. Aimee Prater


Fort Bliss Outstanding Volunteer Family

The Griffing Family

The Hindbaugh Family

The Magdaleno Family

The Myers Family

The Norrid Family


Fort Bliss Outstanding

Partners in Education Units

Joint Task Force North

1-43 ADA, 11th ADA BDE

1-6 IN, 2nd BCT



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