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JBLM spouse wins Army-wide volunteer award

Stacie Pogoncheff honored for outstanding community service

Emma Marie Baird Award winner, Stacie Pogoncheff, right, poses with another staff member at one of the Exceptional Family Member Program camps she helps put on each summer. Photo credit: Lauren Finnegan

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The Joint Base Lewis-McChord community would not be able to function so seamlessly without the support and dedication of its many volunteers. One of those volunteers, JBLM spouse Stacie Pogoncheff, will be honored for her constant efforts working within the Army Community Services Exceptional Family Member Program, with the Emma Marie Baird Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.

Lieutenant Col. Emma Baird, the award's namesake, is considered to be the founder of ACS. Starting in 1963, she worked tirelessly to establish a program aimed at addressing the growing needs of military families. As a result of her efforts, ACS was officially created July 25, 1965. The national award has been presented to volunteers who have demonstrated sustained service and extraordinary dedication since 1990.

Pogoncheff started volunteering with the ACS EFMP while stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 2012. She has continued her work with the program since arriving at JBLM in 2013 as a way to give back to the community.

"Budget wise, I couldn't give anybody monetary things, but I could give back in other areas, and my time is one of those," Pogoncheff said. "It's hard to sit back and watch other people struggle when you know you have the ability to help."

Pogoncheff works at the EFMP office three days a week assisting the staff with in- and out-processing of servicemembers, providing services to clients, updating bulletin boards and helping to plan the monthly events.

"I do a lot of paperwork, but I also plan a lot of fun activities, like the summer camp, ‘Camp Primetime,' where we travel to the Wenatchee National Forest," she said. "We really have fun, and the smiles of the kids makes it all worth it."

Installation Volunteer Corps Program Manager Lori Parker said it was an honor to nominate Pogoncheff for the Army-wide award.

"She is so deserving of that award," Parker said. "Her passion makes her outlook contagious. She feels such a sense of loyalty and commitment to the organization, and that's what truly makes a difference in our community -- having a person that is so committed to making a difference and getting nothing in return. It's pretty amazing."

In addition to her work with EFMP, Pogoncheff volunteers with the Lewis Community Spouses' Club, the PTA at Mann Middle School and extensively with the Special Olympics program on JBLM as a cheer and swim coach.

Pogoncheff was also honored with the JBLM Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015. That same year, her family was then chosen as the Association of United States Army National Volunteer Family of the Year.

The Emma Marie Baird Award will be given to Pogoncheff at the annual JBLM Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, at the American Lake Conference Center on JBLM North, May 30.

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