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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
Fort Bliss Outstanding Ambassador Volunteer
Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Platt
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