Back to News Front

Volunteer of the Year Luncheon is another big success

Honoring, celebrating and recognizing the contributions of jblm volunteers

JBLM’s volunteer award winners are (Left to right, second person in) Will and Lynn Willis, SFC Tyler Lewis, Kriselda Goody, Lori Bollay and Sgt. Ezequiel Martinez. Photo credit: Gail Wood

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Fortunately, it was what they called a "facsimile check," -- that is the cost Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) would have had to pay for all the volunteer hours it received.

And at the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon, the large check was presented on stage at the McChord Club for $2.6 million. It showed the power of a helping hand.

"Today, we honor and celebrate our many volunteers," said Alecia Grady, JBLM's director of  personal and family readiness and the luncheon's main speaker. "We recognize and thank you for your dedication and significant contributions to JBLM and our surrounding communities."

Five special awards were presented to the top volunteers at the base. They were:

  • Sgt. 1st Class Tyler Lewis -- Community Volunteer of the Year
  • Kriselda Goody -- Retiree Volunteer of the Year
  • The Willis family -- Family of the Year
  • Sgt. Ezequiel Martinez -- Active Duty Volunteer of the Year
  • Lori Bollay -- Overall Volunteer of the Year 

Bollay volunteered over 1,000 hours last year writing, editing and revising the financial plan to fund the emerging spouse mentorship program called, "Thrive."

"A lack of funding did not stop her," Grady said. "She gathered volunteers and found ways to implement the benefits of the program at zero cost."

The spouse battalion family readiness participation tripled under Bollay's leadership. She also spearheaded food donations after a combat incident.

"Lori undoubtedly improved the quality of life for servicemembers and families," Grady said.

As a volunteer, Bollay wasn't chasing a paycheck. Her commitment was based on friendship.

"Honestly, I can't imagine being in a different unit," Bollay said. "The caliber of people here make it so easy. I love that. I love doing things for them."

Her payback, her bonus "check," was simply seeing her friends at the luncheon, applauding and smiling.

"This is payment enough," Bollay said, smiling as she looked around at a packed room. "To see the tables filled with our unit. That's enough for me."

Her reward is knowing she helped. She talked about the mentors in life, the people that helped shape her life. One of those mentors was her mother, who died a couple of years ago. 

"Today is her birthday," Bollay said. "I feel she's watching over me. I've had wonderful mentors in my life. For me to have the chance to give back to somebody, that's an honor for me."

Will and Lynn Willis served as youth ministry leaders and youth department directors at their church, Grace Gospel. They coordinated Grace Gospel's "Back to School Bash" and "Harvest Fest," which had about 1,000 kids attending each event. Will also was a musician for both the men's and youth choirs. They were also Sunday School teachers for both youth and adult classes.

They also coordinated Puyallup's annual Easter Egg Hunt and the Fourth of July picnic and parade.  

Their children are involved in music ministries with their church. Willis' message to his children is simple.

"No matter where you are in life, you have to give back," Willis said. 

It's a message he learned growing up.

"I'd say it's ingrained in my family. My family always volunteered," Willis said. "No matter what it was. Most of it was in the church. Go in and clean up. Helping out."

Martinez kept busy as he volunteered with events for the USO Northwest-Shali Center Mobile Unit. He also volunteered with organizational days, back-to-school events, trunk or treat, and a chaplain's run to welcome servicemembers to JBLM for summer training. He also volunteered with the food bank in Tacoma.

Recipients of JBLM's volunteers of merit were Stacie Pogoncheff, Anna Graves, Pam McFarland and Hector Rodriguez. 

Read next close

News Front

Construction at JBLM

comments powered by Disqus