NEWS | April 30, 2021

Selfless Service: Joint Base MDL recognize volunteer contributions

By Staff Sgt. Jake Carter Joint Base MDL Public Affairs

On April 27, 2021, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., celebrated the 2021 Volunteer Appreciation Event highlighting the contributions from volunteers across the installation and the selfless hours they dedicated to making Joint Base MDL and the local community a better place.

Volunteers that were recognized for their hard work included Tech. Sgt. Kelly Young, Mackenzie Points, Emily Huerta, Eliane Valente-Shannon and Colleen Wood. Their accomplishments include leading the “Send a Hero Home” program, Airman’s Attic lead volunteer coordinator and volunteering over 160 hours at the Thrift Store, to name a few.

Jackie Abell, 87th Force Support Squadron Military and Family Support Center installation volunteer coordinator, acknowledged that without these volunteers, some organizations may not be around.

“Today’s event is very important. We have so many volunteers on and off the base that help run organizations and we can’t run them without these individuals,” said Abell. “The Airman’s Attic is completely run by spouses, so if a mom or their child is sick, the attic has to shut down.”

Throughout the 14 volunteer agencies across Joint Base MDL, volunteers contributed over 12,000 hours of service which resulted in saving the installation over $3,000,000.

“This represents only part of the value that Joint Base MDL volunteers offer to the installation and the community” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kira Cooper, 87th FSS commander.

Although celebrated in 2021, the recognition period was from January to December of 2020. Despite the challenges created by COVID-19 last year, the volunteers still made it a priority to keep operations running.

“This ceremony is celebrating last year’s accomplishments, even though we were locked down due to COVID,” said Abell. “We had these individuals still come out and help during that time. These retirees, civilians and active duty members who give their time to help support our base let the installation accomplish its mission.”

With closing comments at the ceremony, U.S. Air Force Col. Bridgette Gigliotti, Joint Base MDL commander, thanked the volunteers for their time and effort.

“I know this is only representative of a small amount of people who selflessly invest their time to this base. There are so many other people and agencies who volunteer and were unable to be here,” said Gigliotti. “The efforts of the Joint Base volunteers have enhanced the community, making Joint Base MDL a better place to work and live. We thank you for your dedication and selfless service.”