News: North Dakota National Guard volunteers honored for commitment to military
FARGO, N.D. - The North Dakota National Guard's corps of volunteers were honored for their support and commitment to the state's soldiers and airmen during the Adjutant General's Symposium for Families at the Holiday Inn in Fargo, N.D., March 10.
The Guard's Service Member and Family Support division annually gives out awards recognizing volunteers and organizations for their outstanding contributions to military members and their families. The SMFS division, whose mission is to enhance quality of life for service members, veterans and their families, began the volunteer award recognition in 2008.
"We are fortunate to have the backing of such a wonderful group of volunteers," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "These award winners are vital contributors to our commitment of taking care of soldiers, airmen and their families."
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Amy Wells for her support of the 818th Engineer Company, based out of Williston, N.D. Wells contributes to the unit's family readiness group by organizing annual events, including a Christmas party, picnics and an annual military ball. The award is presented to one volunteer that shows outstanding and exceptional service to the family program.
Jerry Schmidt, Rothsay, Minn., received the Extra Mile Award, which is presented to one North Dakota National Guard retiree who distinguishes themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the family program by continuing to serve the Guard through volunteering. Schmidt's nomination letter for this award noted his commitment to soldiers in the 231st Brigade Support Battalion. He is instrumental in organizing the unit's annual holiday party and maintaining contact with soldiers deployed overseas and at home to keep them informed about benefits and services they may be entitled to.
The Community Purple Award is presented to a community group or organization that best embraces the "purple concept" by working with both Air and Army Guard activities. This year's recipient was the West Fargo VFW, Post 7564.
The organization established the Remember Our Service Soldiers (R.O.S.S.) event in 2003. This year's R.O.S.S. event raised more than $14,000 to assist family readiness groups in both the Army and Air National Guard.
This year's Gold Award was given to Sgt. 1st Class Bryce Crosby, readiness non-commissioned officer for the 3662nd Maintenance Company, based out of Devils Lake, N.D. The award is presented to one volunteer showing long-term, consistent and dedicated support to volunteering with the family program and volunteering within their community.
Samantha Greenwell, of Minot, N.D., received the Youth Volunteer Award. The honor is presented to a North Dakota National Guard military youth who is 15- to 17-years old and provides exemplary commitment and support to the family program. Greenwell volunteered to watch Guard members' children in the Minot area when they were attending drills over the year. She also sacrificed her time picking up children from afterschool programs while their parents worked on rebuilding flooded houses during North Dakota National Guard summer flood response operations.
The Youth Development Volunteer Award is presented to an adult volunteer who has made a significant impact in the development and support of the North Dakota National Guard Youth program. Chief Warrant Officer Galen Roness and his wife, Cassie, of the 164th Engineer Battalion, based out of Minot, N.D., have supported youth activities in the Minot area. The couple has volunteered their time to clean the Mesa Arena ice skating facility to ensure skating times and affordability for local youths. Galen also used his carpentry skills this year at the First Lutheran Church in Minot to rebuild a nursery after the devastating effects of Souris and Mouse River flooding.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,800 soldiers and more than 1,800 airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 275 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that's more than four times the national average.