Staff Sgt. Jennifer Bunn
2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO NCOIC
Leaders of 2nd Brigade Combat Team showed their appreciation to family readiness group leaders’ continuing support of the Soldiers and Families during a volunteer recognition ceremony April 9 at the Commons on Fort Drum.
More than 40 volunteers who represent each company within the brigade attended the ceremony. Name tags were in the shape of treasure chests, and the tables were adorned with treasure chests full of faux jewels and gold coins to stress the theme “we treasure you.”
Joanne Babbitt, who spent nine years as a 2nd Brigade wife here at Fort Drum and at Fort Benning, Ga., was guest speaker. She told everyone in attendance about the important role a volunteer plays.
“The theme for today’s recognition ceremony is ‘we treasure you,’” she said. “How can you help but treasure a volunteer? No matter how big or small, you fill a need. These things cannot be accomplished without you. It’s like a puzzle. You need all the parts. Be proud of what you do; it’s not easy these days with your busy lifestyles and all the things that are put on you.”
Babbitt said she started volunteering when she was very young due to her parents’ example. So, volunteering as an Army wife just became part of her life.
“When I married into the Army, volunteering was not requested or required; volunteering was almost a necessity for information exchange,” she said. “We did not have social media; we did not have cell phones, computers or Internet. It seems like the dark ages, but it wasn’t that bad.”
“I don’t know about you, but when I volunteer, I always feel good and go away with a smile,” Babbitt continued. “We cannot thank you enough for what you do, but as a mom, a grandma, a military spouse, I must say it is important that you take care of your Families and you take care of yourselves. Congratulations on all you do for others. We treasure you each and every one of you.”
All volunteers were treated to breakfast and received certificates of appreciation from their battalion command groups. But the special reward came from Afghanistan in the form of a video. Col. Dennis Sullivan, brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Font, brigade senior enlisted adviser, along with a representative from each battalion expressed their gratitude for the volunteers’ service.
“I wish we were there in person to express our gratitude to all of you,” Sullivan said. “Though not there in person to tell you, I still want to make sure you know that I value what each and every one of you have done for our Families, our Soldiers and our units.”
FRG volunteers run meetings every month, and they call or send messages to Families within the brigade. They also support unit organization days, Easter egg hunts for the children, a Haunted Hotel extravaganza and many other events and activities.
“No unit can be a great unit without a strong team of volunteers standing beside us and behind us supporting us every day,” Sullivan continued. “I appreciate the sacrifice you and your Families have selflessly endured while we have trained over this past year, then deployed to Afghanistan over these past three months.
“All of you have volunteered to give more of yourself,” he added. “You have opened your hearts to volunteer, not for special pay or award, but for each other. I thank you for volunteering on behalf of all of us (who) benefit from your service.”