News: I Corps recognizes outstanding volunteers
Story by Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – The volunteer motto, “Hands that serve, Hearts that care,” is what some soldiers in the Trailblazer battalion incorporate into their actions.
Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps recognized 16 selected volunteers associated with the battalion who exemplify dedication and community spirit. The civilian volunteers received Certificates of Appreciation and the military volunteers received Certificates of Achievement in a ceremony held Feb. 22 at the Family Readiness Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Among the volunteers, one has a passion for taking care of and rehabilitating animals.
Staff Sgt. James Goodner, an information system operator-analyst, assigned to C Company, along with his girlfriend care for dogs that would have been put to sleep because of the lack of space at shelters. They named their shelter in memory of Kooper and Kloe, two dogs they previously owned. The dogs escaped out of their backyard and one of them was found dead and the other was never found.
The purpose of their shelter, which is based from his house, is to rehabilitate the animals and hopefully get them adopted.
“It’s sometimes a complicated and expensive process,” said Goodner, a native of Houston. “Once you see the look on a kids face when he is about to get his first puppy it makes it all worth it.”
Another volunteer recognized at the ceremony for her efforts was Staff Sgt. Krissi Elshaug, an intelligence analyst, assigned to B Company. She makes baby baskets for expectant parents in the unit and was a key player in the Family Readiness Group’s rear detachment when the unit was deployed to Afghanistan.
“When no one else was around I stepped up to the plate,” said Elshaug a native of Leland, N.C. “I feel the FRG is very important to the soldiers as far as the morale and support to the Families.”
“When my spouse was deployed and I was in the hospital I received a baby basket and that made me feel good,” she said with a strong southern accent. “So I want to pay it forward and do that for my soldiers.”
Volunteerism is something both of the soldiers enjoy which makes it no hassle for them to work hard at their efforts. They both stated they have plans to continue and do even more.
“The battalion has more babies on the way so I am looking forward to create more baskets,” said Elshaug. “It seems like we have a baby boom.”
Elshaug plans to do fundraising with the FRG. She feels that it’s important to have financial support to provide assistance to the soldiers and their families.
Goodner envisions his shelter growing and branching out to provide more resources.
“I want to build a better organization,” said Goodner. “If we can’t house a dog I want to give people advice on what other options they have.”
Goodner does as much as he can to help as many dogs as possible, and admits to sometimes trying to take in too many dogs. But nonetheless he and his girlfriend enjoy every moment of it.
“You can tell by some of the dog’s behavior that they have been abused all their life, “ said Goodner. “ Then three months later they’re running around and playing with other dogs and they are no longer scared of you.”
Goodner and Elshaug are just two of the 16 volunteers who were recognized for their efforts to make the battalion a better organization for all Soldiers and Families.