News: Hundreds of volunteers take over fort
Story by Melissa Buckley
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - Hundreds of volunteers came out Saturday for Make a Difference Day on Fort Leonard Wood — 977 volunteers to be exact — making it the biggest, most successful Make a Difference Day ever on post.
According to Rhonda Hutsell, Army Volunteer Corps coordinator, all of the volunteers on Fort Leonard Wood combined racked up 3,900 volunteer hours just on Saturday.
“There is incredible value in being of service to others and the community. It improves the quality of life for everyone,” Hutsell said.
Some of the services provided were tree removal, mulching exercise stations on the Engineer Trail, beautification projects for the commissary, picking up trash, collecting coats, a food drive, rail road cleanup and dog walking.
Some of the places the volunteers worked at included the post chapels, Wood Elementary, Thayer School, the Fort Leonard Wood Veterinary clinic, Happy Hollow Recreation Area and post cemeteries.
Soldiers from the 5th Engineer Battalion were at the veterinary clinic walking dogs, cleaning facilities, and moving kennels among other things.
“We have soldiers from the 515th Engineer Company and the 55th Mobility Augmentation Company at the veterinary clinic today. Some of the spouses of deployed soldiers are here, too,” said Master Sgt. Kyle Roberts, 55th Mobility Augmentation Company and 515th Engineer Company, 5th Engineer Battalion, rear detachment first sergeant.
“It’s a good feeling to help out the community and Fort Leonard Wood. The post’s veterinary clinic seems to be sort of neglected. We need to take care of these animals, because pets are part of our community, too,” he said. “It’s awesome to see the families walk the dogs. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction.”
At the commissary, 5th Engineer Battalion soldiers kept busy helping by pruning bushes, raking leaves and cleaning up.
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Fields, Forward Support Company, 5th Engineer Battalion, maintenance control sergeant said Make a Difference Day is important because it is a way for troops to give back.
“It makes the post a better place to live. The commissary will look so much better aesthetically. It makes us take pride and feel better,” Fields said. “When you see soldiers coming together to help out, it shows the community that we do care.”