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Annual banquet honors base volunteers

by Master Sgt. Chris Miller
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs superintendent
Photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Chisholm

Chaplain (Maj.) Charles Cornelisse, 6th Air Mobility Wing chaplain, chats with volunteers at the appreciation banquet Saturday night.

MacDill recognized its many volunteers during the Volunteer Appreciation Banquet Saturday night at the Officer's Club. This year's theme was "MacDill's World Class Volunteers…Connecting One Team, One Family, One Community." The banquet is always held in April during National Volunteer Week.

"The banquet honors all volunteers for everything they do for MacDill," said Fran Dozier, Volunteer Resource Program manager for the Family Support Center. "Volunteers do so much for the base every day, and we need them now more than ever before. They saved the base more than $2.3 million this past year -- that's not insignificant. With the military drawdowns and deployments, volunteers are more valued and needed."

Awards presented at the banquet included the 500-hour Club, 1,000-hour Club, 2,000-hour Club, Angel Awards, Retiree Activities Office Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer Coordinator of the Year and Volunteer Excellence Award.

The combined total of the volunteers equates to an individual working a 40-hour workweek for more than 25 years!

"This year we've had more than 900 volunteers -- retirees, active-duty military and spouses," she said. "There's no wrong reason to volunteer, because it's a win-win situation. People receive job training, community spirit, 40 hours of free childcare, socialization -- all good reasons to volunteer."

Ms. Dozier said the base always finds ways to recognize volunteers for their work, whether it's through official awards or informal gestures.

"The MacVIP program, with its awards, parking places and priority lines, is just a small way to thank volunteers for their hard work," said Ms. Dozier. "We can't recognize them enough."

Brig. Gen. (Sel.) Tanker Snyder, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, recognized how important volunteers are to the base community.

"It takes special people to give of themselves freely to benefit others, and that's what our volunteers do," he said. "These people can be found all around MacDill, donating their time, knowledge and care to the base community. Our world-class volunteers are extremely valuable to MacDill and its mission -- that's why it's important to say 'Thank you' to the men and women who do so much for MacDill."

And the winners are:

Volunteer Excellence Award
Jo Ava Overley, Enlisted Wives Club Ms. Overley has been the president of the Enlisted Wives Club since 1998. She has devoted more than 1,000 volunteer hours annually and is a member of the Volunteer Advisory Council. She originated and guided to completion many projects and activities such as events for a nursing home, functions for the EWC, special events for the Society of Military Widows, AirFest and the annual gift wrap fundraiser. Ms. Overley is an essential member of the Thrift Shop where she files contracts, contacts consignors and signs and issues checks to consignors.

Volunteer Coordinator of the Year
James McCormack, AMC Air Passenger Terminal Mr. McCormack is the passenger service agent volunteer coordinator. He skillfully coordinated the work schedules of 13 retiree volunteers ensuring constant coverage in the passenger terminal. He monitored daily work schedules and often provided no-notice coverage during military and volunteer manning shortages. He vigilantly recruited three new volunteers to expand the personnel pool in the passenger terminal. He was a key player in the prompt movement of 5,123 Space-A and Space-required passengers on 332 Department of Defense aircraft. Mr. McCormack organized and manned the passenger terminal booth at the annual Retiree Appreciation Day.

Volunteer of the Year
Sue Baxter, 6th Air Mobility Wing staff judge advocate office Ms. Baxter is an administrative assistant for the base legal office. She was instrumental in the success of the Hospital Recovery Program that garnered $340,000 in recovered costs for the base hospital and Tricare. Her work on the Federal Magistrate Court Program resulted in a 100 percent conviction rate on civilians who were cited on base for various infractions from DUI to speeding. Her direct involvement gained 170 convictions and payment to the government in over $10,000 in fines. Ms. Baxter's direct support to the legal office has enabled the attorneys and paralegals much needed time to complete staff projects, complete court preparation and compile and complete legal opinions.

Angel Award Winners
The MacDill Angel Award Program is designed to recognize the accomplishments of the most devoted volunteers. Mrs. Larry Welch, wife of General Welch, designed the angel lapel pin, symbolic of when an angel would be dispatched on missions of mercy, rescue or special intervention. This special award goes to individuals who have excelled in their chosen fields of volunteer expertise. A volunteer can only receive this award once in a lifetime. This year's recipients are Shari Bice-Becker, 6th Medical Support Squadron; Carmen Fontanez, American Red Cross; Virginia Anne Hassler, MacDill Family Resource Center; James McCormack, Air Passenger Terminal; Rose Ottman, MacDill Family Resource Center; Carl Smith, Golf Course; Brewster Snyder, Brandon Clinic; and Jackie Wilder, Golf Course.

2,000-hour Club honorees
Henry Counts and George Thomason

1,000-hour Club honorees
Juanita Anspach, Essie Counts, Charles Fisher, Renee Fisher, Tom McAndrew, George Nickerson, Rose Ottman and Carl Smith.

 

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