Members of the Fort Drum community gathered Friday at the USO building to recognize the efforts of 26 volunteers who collectively gave more than 10,000 hours of their time in support of Soldiers last year.
Molly Manning, USO volunteer coordinator, thanked the volunteers for their hard work and dedication.
“USO Fort Drum relies solely on volunteers and donations. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers,” Manning said.
From assisting at the USO center six days a week, to participating in events such as Mountainfest and Riverfest, to welcoming home every Soldier returning from deployment, USO volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, Manning said.
“Soldiers give so much to our country,” she said. “It’s great to see military spouses, military children and people from the community wanting to give back and to say ‘thank you’ to these Soldiers and their Families for all that they do.”
Milestone awards from the USO were presented to Marcky Roland and Jose Torres, who had volunteered more than 50 hours, and Wendy Boisvert, who had volunteered more than 100 hours.
Elizabeth Jones and Juli Thome received milestone awards for having given more than 200 hours of service.
The following individuals received bronze President’s Volunteer Service Awards for donating more than 100 hours during a 12-month period: Kimberly Archu-leta, George Barton, Cherie Bris- tow, Yana Campbell, Micah Ellis, Amanda Feathers, Mathew Gonzalez, Suzy Hicks, Elizabeth Jones, Robert Kip, Terri Matula, Faye Murphy, Daniel Oswald, Daniel Pearson Jr., Dotty Pearson, Annette Pedrogo, Cory Perry, Kate Purcell and Juli Thome.
The following individuals received silver President’s Volunteer Service Awards for donating more than 250 hours during a 12-month period: Andrea Cianci, Dawn Desmond-Rast, Diane LaForty, Pete Munson, Makayla Rast, Colleen Rhoads and Jessica Sam-uels.
The following youths received gold President’s Volunteer Service Awards for donating more than 250 hours during a 12-month period: Audrey Whitehurst and William Zenyuk.
Jeryd Rast received a gold President’s Volunteer Service Award for donating more than 500 hours during a 12-month period.
Each President’s award recipient was given a certificate signed by the president of the United States of America thanking them for their efforts.
Brig. Gen. Carl A. Alex, 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy commanding general for support; Col. Thomas D. Macdonald, division chief of staff; and Command Sgt. Maj. Rick E. Merritt, division senior enlisted adviser, helped to present each award.
Three Fort Drum youths also were nominated for Operation Homefront’s 2014 Military Child of the Year award.
Nominees were Matthew Howard, Audrey Whitehurst and William Zenyuck. The annual award is given to children who have demonstrated exceptional citizenship while facing the challenges of military life.
The top 20 finalists will be announced Jan. 6 at www.military-childoftheyear.com