JBLM recognizes Red Cross volunteers

By Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs on March 17, 2016

Eighty-one Joint Base Lewis-McChord American Red Cross volunteers were recognized for their selfless dedication and servitude at a ceremony March 9, at the McChord Club on JBLM. In 2015, 315 Red Cross volunteers worked with JBLM healthcare facilities and other service areas to provide essential support towards the comfort and medical care of servicemembers, veterans and family members. The volunteers contributed more than 74,000 hours of service or the equivalent to more than $1.7 million worth of service.

Col. Timothy Holman, 7th Infantry Division chief of staff, served as the guest speaker for the annual event which served as an opportunity to give back to those who give so much.

"It's an absolute honor to be given the opportunity to address these outstanding volunteers," said Holman. "Since its inception in 1881, when Clara Barton and her best friends founded the organization, the Red Cross has remained true to its mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering."

Holman quoted Merriam Webster to describe who the volunteers truly are by saying, "A volunteer is a person who does something by free choice usually with no expectations for payment or acknowledgement."

He addressed the volunteers with deep gratitude, understanding the essential role the Red Cross volunteers play here.

"Your willingness to help others speaks volumes about your character," Holman said. "Today, we take the time to honor these eighty-one civilians who collectively have volunteered hundreds of years and thousands of hours of their time. No other organization comes close to the dedication or acts of kindness you give."

Holman shared a story about his personal connection and experience with the American Red Cross from 15 years ago.

"As a soldier in the Pentagon during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, I witnessed first-hand the Red Cross volunteers who worked tirelessly to help support those affected in the crash," said Holman. "I watched them working around the clock helping others, and this selfless display of generosity will be forever etched in my mind."

"As a volunteer, each of you has a unique story to tell and you will never know all the lives you have affected through your many sacrifices.

Bob Jeffrey, McChord Clinic Red Cross coordinator, was recognized as the 2015 Volunteer of the Year and was surprised by the announcement at the ceremony.

Joey Naputi, McChord Clinic pharmacy technician and avid volunteer appreciator, credits Jeffrey's meticulousness and dedication as the driving force behind the success at the McChord Clinic.