The Wiesbaden military community took time out to pay tribute to its volunteers with a luncheon and Volunteer of the Year Ceremony at the Little Italy Restaurant and Catering Center April 26.
“What an honor it is to be a member of such a supportive, caring and cohesive community,” said Candice Lane, family readiness support assistant for V Corps’ Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. “The community thrives because of you — our volunteers.”
Quoting President Barack Obama, Lane read, “Our nation has been profoundly shaped by ordinary Americans who have volunteered their time and energy to overcome extraordinary challenges. Our nation has always been at its best when individuals have come together to realize a common vision.
“During National Volunteer Week we pay tribute to all those who give of themselves to keep America strong, and we renew the spirit of service that has enriched our country for generations. That spirit lives on today in countless acts of service around our country.
“I encourage every American to stand up and play their part — to put their shoulders up against the wheel and help change history’s course.”
“From April 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012, the volunteers in the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden volunteered 68,747.90 hours,” said Jan Meert, Army Community Service director. “The extent of the dedication, commitment and talents of each volunteer is truly immeasurable.”
Citing some of the other statistics compiled by Wiesbaden volunteer managers — that 8 percent of the total garrison population volunteers, that some $1.4 million in services were contributed thanks to their efforts, that more than 1,400 people regularly dedicate their time and talents — Dr. Robert Kandler, deputy to the commander, said the real contributions of volunteers are immeasurable.
“You’re changing lives every day,” Kandler said. “You’re affecting people’s lives, and by God, we are grateful that you are here. Volunteers make Wiesbaden and the world a better place in which to live.”
As Dr. Robert Schloesser read off the names of the nominees in each category, the men, women and children recognized for their outstanding volunteer efforts were invited up to the front to receive certificates and other gifts.
Nominated in the Family category were the Kelly, Ravensbergen, Heiges and Fry families. This year’s overall Volunteer Family winners were the members of the Ravensbergen family — Neil (a civilian employee with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District), Karen, Amanda, Derek and Carl — cited among numerous other things for their untold hours of helping support local Boy and Girl Scout activities in the Wiesbaden area.
In the Adult Volunteer category the following individuals were nominated: Kathleen Schaefer, Nicole Foehrweiser, Nicole Maschek, Jennifer Oravetz and Mary Gooderham. This year’s Volunteer of the Year is Mary Gooderham who was cited for her volunteer efforts in her local church, among other contributions.
Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Speed and Lt. Col. Chad Gooderham were nominated as Volunteers of the Year in the Military Category. It was a double win for the Gooderham family as the Wiesbaden Health Clinic’s deputy commander was named the Military Volunteer of the Year for USAG Wiesbaden. Among a wide range of volunteer contributions, Gooderham’s work with the Scouts, as a tae kwon do coach and youth leadership supporter were among the highlights.
William Heiges and Jill Tidwell were nominated in the Retiree Category. Tidwell was named the Retiree Volunteer of the Year and cited for her service to the Aukamm Parent Teacher Association, Girl Scouts, as a youth sports coach and other activities.
In the Youth Volunteer Category William Heiges II and Erin Fry were selected as the nominees. Heiges, the silver medalist in the 220-pound weight class at the 2012 European Wrestling Championships and an Eagle Scout was chosen this year’s Youth Volunteer of the Year. His volunteer contributions ranged from serving as a Sunday School teacher’s aide to helping support his fellow Scouts of all ages in Wiesbaden.