MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marine Corps Community Services hosted their 13th annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony at the South Mesa Club on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton April 19.
The ceremony was held to recognize the volunteers for contributing their time to help the community both on and off base, said Candi Heinberger, the volunteer program coordinator with MCCS.
Many organizations and individuals were recognized for their services and help with the implementation of the Base Volunteer Program.
“Before we begin with the Volunteer of the Year nominees, we would like to thank the members of the Planning Committee for making this event a success,” said Wayne Bell, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group Family Readiness Officer, during the ceremony. “We would (also) like to recognize the members of the Volunteer Advisory Council.”
The following organizations who were recognized at the ceremony include:
· American Red Cross
· Big Brother Big Sisters of San Diego, Operation Bigs
· Camp Pendleton Animal Shelter
· Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA
· Camp Pendleton Historical Society
· Camp Pendleton Leadership Education Seminar
· Camp Pendleton Mechanized Museum
· Camp Pendleton Youth Sports
· Docents of Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores
· Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Mainside
· Nave Marine Corps Relief Society, San Onofre
“It is now time to recognized some outstanding volunteers and units that greatly contribute to Camp Pendleton and the surrounding community,” continued Bell. “These men and women have been nominated by their peers, their volunteer coordinators and/or by the commands with which they serve.”
Of hundreds volunteers, only about 15 were nominated for each of the five categories: Civilian, Military, Team, Small and Large Unit Volunteer of the Year.
“I was shocked when I found out I was chosen for this award,” said Staff Sgt. Dale W. Elder, the maintenance chief with Ground Electronics Maintenance Division, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton and the winner of the Military Volunteer of the Year. “A lot of other Marines have volunteered their time to help out the community alongside me.”
Each of the winners was evaluated and chosen by a Volunteer Selection Committee made up of six people both military and civilian.
“All of the nominees were looked over by the committee comprised of one field grade officer, one senior (staff noncommissioned officer), one NCO, one Marine & Family Programs staff member, one military spouse, and one volunteer,” said Heinberger. “The committee reviewed all of the nominees against the guidelines and voted for a winner.”
The winners made their way to the stage to receive their respective awards from Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, commanding general Marine Corps Installations West, MCB Camp Pendleton, and Heinberger as their names were called out.
“We are very ecstatic to win the Large Unit Volunteer of the Year,” said Vicki Miller, Volunteer Programs Coordinator for Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. “We have contributed a lot this year volunteering in many organizations such as Meals on Wheels, the Special Olympics, youth sports and senior centers.”
Each volunteer gives their time for a different reasons but all come together to show their support for each other.
“I volunteer because I wanted to give Marines a positive image and give the Marine Corps a good name,” said Elder. “It’s good to see all the organizations outside of the military come in and show their support.”
The ceremony had a great turnout with VIPs, commanding officers, volunteers and guests coming out and showing their appreciation, said Heinberger.
“It is an honor and a pleasure to receive this award on behalf of Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton,” said Capt. Theron C, Toole, chief of the medical staff. “We are all winners in volunteering and we all receive a huge payoff with the help we give and reorganization for our good deed.”
As the ceremony came to a close, Reine L. Barna, a resiliency services coordinator with Families OverComing Under Stress, performed a flute solo for all the guests and volunteers.
“It’s touching how we pulled together to make all of this happen,” said Heinberger. “I want to thank everyone for volunteering and all the work they have done.”