Fort McCoy News April 11, 2014

Volunteer service helps keep Fort McCoy strong

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

National Volunteer Week is April 6 to 12. This year marks the 40th year of the observance.

"Volunteers are an important part of our way of life at Fort McCoy," said Janeen Folgers, Fort McCoy's Army Volunteer Corps (AVC) coordinator in the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) Army Community Service (ACS) office.

AVC logo

"Every year, our volunteers donate thousands of hours of service which proves they are an invaluable resource to keeping our community strong."

In 2011 and 2012, for example, Fort McCoy volunteers donated more than 21,000 hours of service combined, Folgers said.

Though hours for 2013 are still being calculated, registered volunteers will be recognized for their support at the 2014 Volunteer Appreciation Banquet April 17.

Volunteers who donated hours last year will be sent invitations to attend with a guest, Folgers said.

"The event is our chance to thank those volunteers for all they do for this community.

"Our volunteers are amazing," Folgers said.

"The hours we track at Fort McCoy do not include the many hours our community members volunteer in the cities where they live outside of the post. We certainly have wonderful people here at Fort McCoy."

President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week with an executive order in 1974, history shows.

Every sitting U.S. president since Nixon has issued a proclamation during National Volunteer Week urging Americans to give their time to community outreach organizations.

According to the Points of Light Institute (PLI), National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.

"Army Volunteers: Changing Lives and Communities" is the service's theme for National Volunteer Week 2014.

It coincides with the PLI theme of "taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change — discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference."

Anyone associated with the Army community — Soldiers, Family members, government civilian employees, retirees and others — can participate in the AVC, Folgers said. Army volunteers also may come from the civilian community.

"The common bond of volunteers is their desire to help meet the needs of Army community members, serving the installation and those who live and work here, as well as the geographically dispersed Families of the Guard and Reserve," Folgers said.

"They serve by giving freely of time and talents, providing services, or resources, or sharing skills to benefit individuals, groups or community needs without expecting monetary compensation."

There are more than 200 volunteer positions at Fort McCoy. They include supporting ACS functions and activities, and DFMWR activities such as the Woodshop, Auto Crafts Shop, Pine View Campground, Sportsman's Range and Whitetail Ridge Ski Area.

Volunteer requirements vary depending on the position, Folgers said. The organizational point of contact establishes the criteria for duties, time requirements, evaluation procedures and qualifications.

Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Fey, administrative and operations noncommissioned officer at the chaplain office of the 88th Regional Support Command, has been an active volunteer with DFMWR events for more than two years. She said she enjoys helping out whenever possible.

"It makes me feel good to help out wherever I can," Fey said. "I like to support events that help strengthen Family bonds, such as with the MWR events. Supporting military Families is important, and I like being a part of it all."

An example of a recent Fort McCoy volunteer effort included the Wounded Warrior event Feb. 22 at the Whitetail Ridge Ski Area. First, the event was organized as a volunteer senior project by a student, Chad Seitz, from West Salem High School. At the event, ski patrol volunteers aided a wounded warrior to enjoy a day of skiing that might not have been otherwise possible.

For more information about becoming a Fort McCoy volunteer and joining the AVC, visit the DFMWR webpage on volunteering at http://www.mccoymwr.com/home/army-community-service/army-volunteer-corps.html, or call Folgers at 608-388-6507.