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JBLM honors volunteer corps

Northwest Guardian

Published: 12:29PM May 9th, 2013
JBLM honors volunteer corps

Christopher Gaylord/Northwest Guardian

Gloria Acosta shakes hands with Col. Jeff Philippart, vice commander of JBLM's 62nd Airlift Wing, after accepting an award for JBLM Volunteer of the Year May 1 at the McChord Club and Community Center.

The value of volunteers’ contributions is inestimable, but even when measured in cold cash, the worth of generously donated time and toil at Joint Base Lewis-McChord last year was impressive — more than $3 million.

The annual JBLM volunteer recognition luncheon held May 1 at the McChord Club and Community Center celebrated the dedication of base volunteers, and computing labor costs, amounted to $3,050,545 in hours contributed in 2012.

JBLM volunteer corps program manager Lori Parker presented a symbolic check to JBLM commander Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr., a tangible illustration of the savings to the installation provided by JBLM’s volunteers.

“Volunteers are an important part of the fabric that makes up this community,” Hodges said. “Those are the individuals who truly make America and JBLM what it is today — a great city and a great installation.”

After honoring the collective effort of JBLM’s volunteers, Parker announced nominations for individual awards and recognized the winners as the most inspiring volunteers.

One of those individuals, Gloria Acosta, was named JBLM’s Volunteer of the Year. She received the award for her extensive work with the 47th Combat Support Hospital Family Readiness Group, including serving as the FRG point of contact for Spanish-speaking families. She also volunteered with the Bleeding Disorder Foundation of Washington, the Adopt-A-Highway program, her son’s school and her church.

“When you give other people love, you receive love,” Acosta said. “You are happier to serve. Love is the key to helping others.”

Specialist Alexys Wright was honored as the Active Duty Volunteer of the Year for her service with Better Opportunities for Single Service members. She volunteered to help with several BOSS events, drove the designated driver van and contributed more than 40 hours on weekends painting a veteran widow’s home.

The JBLM Family Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Frankie and Ray Rasmussen, who volunteer extensively at the Lewis Main Chapel, coordinating the annual Sweetheart Banquet and movie nights and working with the outreach and fellowship programs. Ray Rasmussen also maintains “The Refuge” facility and grounds, a retreat center used by the chapel.

Anita Vargo was recognized as the JBLM Retiree Volunteer of the Year for her work as the vice president of purchasing for Santa’s Castle, which involved soliciting and picking up donations, attending unit toy marches and volunteering during toy distribution.

Elizabeth Anderson was named JBLM Youth Volunteer of the Year for her work as a group leader for the Awana ministry, guiding kindergarten through second grade students in ministry lessons and games.

Five other adult volunteers were given merit awards for their volunteer service.

Lisa Bennett was honored for her time as the secretary at Santa’s Castle. Kimberly Borowski was recognized as the FRG leader for the U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment, Yakima Training Center. The third winner was Erica Hogge, an FRG point of contact for 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, classroom volunteer, and volunteer cheerleader coach. Karen McCall-McNeil was recognized for her service with the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery FRG and as a volunteer at Madigan Army Medical Center and Lakes High School. Sergeant First Class William Girard was honored for his service as the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade BOSS representative. He organized two canned food drives, collecting more than 2,000 pounds of food for local food banks.