JBSA shines spotlight on volunteers at awards ceremony

  • Published
  • By David DeKunder
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base San Antonio recently shined a light on those individuals and groups who have impacted many lives through their volunteerism in the military community during the Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony April 20 at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center.

Awards were presented to 10 individual winners and two groups for their volunteer service in 2021.  The winners were selected from a total of 41 nominations, covering three award categories: Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer Excellence Award and President’s Volunteer Service Award. Nominations were submitted by various agencies throughout JBSA.

Presenting awards and sharing remarks at the ceremony were Lt. Gen. John Evans Jr., U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) commanding general; Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander; and Capt. Shannon Johnson, Naval Medical Forces Support Command deputy commander.

Awards were presented in the following categories:

Active Duty Service Member Volunteer of the Year: Maj. Elizabeth Marlin, International Military Advisory Board, Wreaths Across America

Family Member Volunteer of the Year: Karen Mann, U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training Flight Photograph Project, JBSA-Lackland

Retiree Volunteer of the Year: Retired Col. Lisa Skopal, Military Officers Association of America, Alamo Chapter

Civilian Volunteer of the Year: Elvira Rojas-Morales, Beads of Courage Program at Brooke Army Medical Center

Youth Volunteer of the Year: Kevina Phillips, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Youth Program

Volunteer Family of the Year: Richardson family, Brooke Army Medical Center Troop Command, San Antonio Food Bank

Small Group Volunteer of the Year (less than 50 people): First Class Petty Officers Association, South Texas Region;

Large Group Volunteer of the Year (50 or more people): United Services Organization of San Antonio.

Recipients of the Volunteer Excellence Award were retired Col. Sharon Disler, Sharon Earley and Lawrence Hilbrich, with Tech Sgt. Gregory Watson receiving President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Evans said he was amazed by the stories of selflessness, sacrifice and dedication shown by JBSA volunteers.

“You are a bright shining testament of who we are here in the military community of San Antonio,” Evans said. “I will tell you that shines outside our gates. When I talk to members of the community here, they talk about what our volunteers do for the community.”

Johnson said volunteerism helps to strengthen the military community and bolsters both individual and family resilience.

“We get to shine a light on those of you who have served and inspired us throughout the year,” Johnson said.

In 2021, JBSA members volunteered a total of 87,366 hours, which came out to a monetary value of over $2.5 million. According to Independent Sector, an organization of nonprofits, foundations and corporations, the estimated value of volunteer time is $28.54 per hour. This value was reflected in the oversized check presented by Col. Shane Cuellar, 502nd Force Support Group commander, and Lt. Col. Marjorie Barnum, 802nd Force Support Squadron commander, during the ceremony.

In thanking the volunteers, Miller said she was amazed by the number of volunteer hours given by JBSA members to their community.

“We could not do our mission without you, we couldn’t do it,” Miller said. “I can only say thank you. You make our jobs so much easier; you make this community stronger and tighter. I will tell you this is my favorite thing to do, it awes me.”