MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Volunteers from around the Combat Center were recognized for their dedication and service throughout 2005 in a ceremony April 26 at the Community Center.
More than 125 people turned out as 12 volunteer programs were recognized, representing more than 700 volunteers who saved $1,586,063.63 for their 95,546 hours of work.
The amount of hours volunteered and money saved was an increase from last year’s $1.3 million.
Recognized at the event were the coordinators of the Key Volunteer Network, Religious Ministries, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, American Red Cross, Armed Services YMCA, Toys for Tots, Single Marine Program, retired affairs, youth programs, Lifestyle Insights, Networking and Skills spousal education program and the Official Huggers.
Christina Curtin, coordinator for volunteer programs aboard the base, presented Brig. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, Combat Center commanding general, with a check representing the money saved by volunteers according to the national hourly volunteer worth.
“I thank you for donating your time and energy and for the inspiration you give us,” Stone said to the crowd. “There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who have been the recipients of your kindness; people who you have touched.
“I stand here today, not as a guest speaker, but as a representative for all of those people to be able to say, ‘Thank you,’” Stone said.
In addition to recognizing programs, attendees also participated in a door prize raffle for gifts donated by Marine Corps Community Services.
“Without our volunteers, what we do would not be possible,” said Navy Capt. David A. Starkey, director of Religious Ministries. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Your reward is far greater than a piece of paper.”
One volunteer with the Official Huggers program was singled out by Larry Stratton, head of MCCS Family Teambuilding, as he spoke about the program.
“There is one lady who has been the pillar of the Official Huggers program,” Stratton said. “She’s been out there through the cold and in the middle of the night. She moved me to tears once when she hugged a Marine leaving for Iraq and told him, ‘This is for your momma.’ I cried, she cried, the Marine cried and he said, ‘Thank you, mom.’ Then he left. That special lady is Jany Wasdin.”
Wasdin received a standing ovation from the room as Stone and Sgt. Maj. William Johnson, Combat Center sergeant major, both walked over and gave her a hug to thank her for her outstanding dedication.
Curtin then again took the podium to convey her final thoughts as the ceremony closed.
“It’s a privilege to recognize all of you today,” she said. “So for your skills and your talents and your sacrifices to our military families aboard this base, thank you.”