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    Fort Stewart/HAAF Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony goes virtual

    Fort Stewart/HAAF Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony goes virtual

    Photo By Sgt. Arjenis Nunez | Preston Ver Hoef, the Fort Stewart Hunter Army Airfield’s 2020 youth volunteer of...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Arjenis Nunez 

    50th Public Affairs Detachment

    For the first time ever, leaders and members of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield’s Army Community Service hosted their annual volunteer of the year recognition award ceremony through a simulcast that was live-streamed for the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia communities, June 4, 2020 at various locations near the installations.

    Recognizing over 18,000 hours of community service from April 2019 through March 2020, over 100 Soldiers across FSGA/HAAF participated in giving their time and effort to Coastal Georgia resulting in their nomination for the active duty Soldier, spouse, youth, civilian and Family of the year award.

    “The opportunities to volunteer are limitless and what you get out of volunteering is priceless,” said Jaime Meyers, the Fort Stewart Army volunteer coordinator.

    COVID-19 precautions have enabled innovation to make inroads to spaces and abilities that were traditionally not required. Historically, the volunteer award ceremonies have been held at Fort Stewart, which facilitated a larger gathering of people to attend.

    Instead of cameras recording the event for Facebook Live and video content, several cameras were used to simultaneously present the winners with their awards at their residence.

    “There were technical challenges, such as having a maximum capacity on the number of people backstage at a time [in consideration for COVID-19],” said Kevin Larson, the chief of public communications for garrison public affairs. “[There was also the potential] for people accidentally dropping out of the livestream.”

    The pandemic has been challenging for many people all over the world, but Fort Stewart’s Army Community Service met this challenge head on and brought some positivity to the awardees and the larger Army community paying close attention to the live-streamed event.

    “This is a good way to show the volunteers appreciation because we wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that we do without our volunteers,” said Renee McClinton, the volunteer program manager.

    Nominated by brigade commanders and vetted through an award panel, the active duty Soldier volunteer of the year winner is Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Weaver, who is assigned to the 188th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East.

    Weaver has contributed to nonprofits such as Team Red White and Blue (since 2017), Team Rubicon, The Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors, and the Travis Manion Foundation.

    The civilian volunteer of the year winner is Larry Wooten. Wooten is an active member of the Marne Chapel, serves on the parish council and helped organize two Savannah, Georgia riverboat cruises, as well as a weekend retreat to Jekyll Island for parishioners to bond with their loved ones.

    The spouse volunteer of the year winner is Nichole Stone. Stone is actively engaged in her Soldier’s unit and family readiness group, The Marne Community and Spouses Club, Diamond Elementary Parent-Teacher organization, and Protestant Women of the Chapel.

    The youth volunteer of the year winner is Preston Ver Hoef. Ver Hoef has spent over 60 hours volunteering with Richmond Hill Middle School, offering support for special needs students and has also helped with several of his school’s blood drives.

    The Family volunteer of the year winner is the Self Family. Clarrisa Self, mother to Pfc.Jared Self, a reconnaissance platoon medic for 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. The Self’s have prepared and delivered over 100 gallons of Halloween candy for Families in need and have participated in the Honor Flight Program, which allows local veterans to see their respective Service memorial in Washington D.C.

    “Total Army savings from volunteers averages about $55 million a year,” said Beau Bradley, the supervisory mobilization and deployment specialist program manager at Fort Stewart. “The savings help us focus our efforts on additional ways to support the warfighter and make it possible to have the Army we have today.”

    “Thank you [to everyone] for showing your courage and adaptability during these recent times,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, the 3rd Infantry Division’s commander. “We have seen our community come together in ways that exemplify exactly what the U.S. Army is all about and stands for.”



    Date Taken: 06.04.2020
    Date Posted: 06.05.2020 20:50
    Story ID: 371589
    Location: FORT STEWART, GA, US 
    Hometown: HINESVILLE, GA, US
    Hometown: RICHMOND HILL, GA, US
    Hometown: SAVANNAH, GA, US

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