FORT BENNING, Ga. - Work. Basketball practice. Dinner. Homework. Laundry.
These are only a few things on a “to do” list for some military spouses— and that’s only one day.
For 27 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, spouses, the list also includes Family Readiness Group meetings, sending e-mail and making phone calls, and fundraising. It’s for these reasons they were recognized during a volunteer award ceremony, Jan. 24, at the Truscott Center on Kelley Hill.
Col. Charles D. Costanza, 3rd ABCT commander, hosted the quarterly event, which applauded the volunteer efforts of spouses in each of the brigade’s six battalions.
“I don’t know where [they] find the time to volunteer, because I know [they] don’t have it,” Costanza said. “Each of them has the heart to give something bigger than themselves and their families…These volunteers are really the backbone of this brigade.”
Costanza joked that some spouses had a basketball team-sized family but said, in all seriousness, the countless hours of work each of the women have dedicated to their respective unit’s FRG, and the brigade, is invaluable.
“You hear me say this about good and great leaders all the time, and what makes great leaders great is one of the traits of being 100 percent selfless. Every one of the volunteers in this room is 100 percent selfless...and we don’t thank [them] enough for what [they] do. Not just for this brigade and Kelley Hill, but for our Army and our soldiers and their families.”
For Kayleen Grider, a Cimarron, Kan., native who was honored at the ceremony, it’s not about the recognition.
Grider has been the FRG leader for Company C, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, since August 1, 2012. She dedicates nearly 30 hours a month organizing potlucks, fun runs and fundraising events, as well as manning concession stands for other brigade-wide events.
Much like her husband--Fort Worth, Texas, native Sgt. 1st Class James Grider, a platoon sergeant with 2-69 Armor Rgt.--ensures his Soldiers are taken care of, Mrs. Grider makes it her priority to support and inform their families.
“I love interacting with the wives and families, and knowing they have things taken care of,” she said. “It’s extremely rewarding.”
Grider was recognized for her “exemplary devotion and enthusiasm as a FRG leader,” as well as the countless hours she volunteered “in order to maintain unit readiness,” according the citation read by 1st Lt. Chelsea Taylor, the ceremony’s lead planner and narrator.
“It involved a lot of planning and coordination because there were so many people involved in making sure this ceremony could happen,” said the Washington, D.C., native, and strength management officer with the 203rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd ABCT.
Despite some scheduling issues with the holidays, Taylor said the ceremony was a success.
“It’s important that we recognize these volunteers because they have devoted so much of their own time to Soldiers and other families. They are full-time wives, mothers, and volunteers and we want them to know just how much we appreciate them for making the battalions and the brigade a better place,” Taylor explained.
Costanza presented volunteers with a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of himself and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Green, the brigade command sergeant major.
“I’ve been in the Army for 27 years now, and the amount of volunteers on this Hill is amazing. [The volunteers] really do make Kelley Hill a neat and special place,” Costanza said, as he thanked the volunteers one last time for their efforts in making the Sledgehammer Brigade “a fantastic place.”
The following spouses were also recognized for their volunteer efforts:
1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment
• Michelle Allen
• Tracy Bigham
• Amanda Caldwell
• Marin Easter
• Trisha Howard
• Jamie Smith
• Meredith Whitehead
2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment
• Michelle Box
3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment
• Roxanne Arnold
1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment
• Annette Faris
• Arayna Randall
• Michelle Spears
• Katie Wilkerson
3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion
• Pamela Breland
• Xaviera Feliciano
• Andrea Flagg
• Emma Foudray
• Frances Perez
• Melissa Walton
• Lori Young
203rd Brigade Support Battalion
• Lauren Berry
• Johanna Diaz
• Jennifer Griffin
• Jennifer Moorman
• Ivette Moretta
• Jessica Perrine