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Volunteers put service above self, are recognized at ceremony

By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | November 03, 2017

     More than 60 Fort Riley Soldiers, family members and civilians were recognized for contributing more than 5,500 hours of their time during the Volunteer of the Quarter Ceremony Oct. 24 at Riley’s Conference Center.

      As the ceremony began, Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Martin, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general, asked the volunteers to stand to show the crowded venue how many were present. He then asked those who there to support them to stand — a grouping of people that doubled the volunteers present rose. He said this was representative of how grateful people were for the time the volunteers gave.

      “We’re an all-volunteer force,” Martin said to the attendees. “We are one in 300 amongst the population of the United States who swears an oath to an idea to support and defend the constitution of the United States. That makes this community special, well, you say, ‘well, the Soldiers swear an oath,’ but if you’re a spouse of a Soldier, who have volunteered to commit yourself to someone who has committed themselves to this profession and that allegiance to that oath and that idea and it is not easy busy. It involved deployments, preparing for deployments and making sure that we take care of each other and we do both of those.’

     “And it’s a demanding job, some would say that takes all your time and yet, tonight, we’re here recognizing Soldiers, spouses, dependents and some civilians who have taken time beyond the incredible demands of what our profession and supporting a Soldier whose engaged in that profession, taking time to do extra things for the community, for their fellow Soldier, for their fellow family members or whatever the cause was — taking extra time to do that. It’s volunteers who are volunteering for even more.”

     Volunteers were honored by leaders of the Fort Riley garrison; 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div.; 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div.; 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade; 97th Military Police Battalion; 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div.; 1st Infantry Division Artillery and the Warrior Transition Battalion.

      Jamie Simpson, wife of Staff Sgt. Kevin Simpson, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., has completed more than 500 volunteer hours.

     She said volunteering with her Family Readiness Group and Fort Riley and the previous installation she lived at was a way for her to build friendships and connections in new areas so she didn’t feel alone.

     “When my husband first joined the Army, we moved 18 hours away from home — no family, nothing — so I initially started volunteering with the FRG to be a part of the family and outreach, and get to know people and know my surroundings and networking,” she said. “Then I fell in love with it.”

     After her time volunteering, she said it helped her to adjust and now she looks forward to greeting new spouses at Fort Riley and making them feel like they’re a part of the community.

     “I love to help people,” Simpson said. “I get a joy out of seeing others happy.”

     During the ceremony, Martin acknowledged that some people may have ulterior motives than wanting to help others by volunteering, but he said those motives don’t matter. What matters is they are volunteering and they are giving up their time in service to others.

     “They’re giving time to somebody else other than themselves,” he said.

      For those interested in volunteer opportunities at Fort Riley or in the surrounding communities, contact Becky Willis, Army Volunteer Corps Program manager, at 785-239-4593.

 

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