Fort Bragg honors volunteers, business leaders
The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Fort Bragg is home to tens of thousands of soldiers and airmen, but it was dozens of men and women who do not wear any uniform who were honored Tuesday.
Fort Bragg leaders honored volunteers and business leaders at two separate events.
At the Fort Bragg Club, 33 people were honored with an Iron Mike award for volunteer service.
They included volunteers for several different family readiness groups that help the families of soldiers and airmen, Army Community Service and the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.
At the USO of North Carolina's Fort Bragg Center, business leaders were honored for their support to the the local military community through donations and sponsorships.
Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general of Fort Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps, spoke at both ceremonies.
During the Iron Mike awards, Anderson praised the volunteers, most of whom were wives of soldiers.
Anderson said that activities on Fort Bragg don't necessarily happen because of people who are paid for their work.
"Without volunteers, this place wouldn't run," he said. "Thanks for what you do to make Bragg a better place."
Alice Stephens, Fort Bragg's volunteer corps coordinator, said helping hands on Fort Bragg are never in short supply.
"It's not hard to find volunteers at all," she said. "They usually find us."
The Iron Mike awards, started in 2001, are a way to recognize those volunteers who dedicate hundreds of hours of their time, Stephens said.
Twenty-two volunteers were honored with Iron Mike pins, meaning they donated 300 hours of their time. Another 13 volunteers received Bronze Stars, meaning they volunteered for 500 hours.
Stephens said some of that volunteering time was spent babysitting for families with a deployed soldier, cooking for families in need or visiting sick family members.
"They go above and beyond," Stephens said.
At Fort Bragg's USO, eleven companies were recognized for donating everything from coffee to computers.
BJ's Wholesale Club, Kangaroo stores, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Lenovo, Attention Ink, Embry Riddle, Harris Teeter, Hooters, Karaman Communications and Mann+Hummel Purolator each supported various programs and events hosted by the USO of North Carolina's Fort Bragg Center.
Anderson said the recognition was a way to say thanks for the support that often gets overlooked.
"We take for granted sometimes what people do for us," he said.
Anderson said the donations, no matter how small, are needed as budget cuts and fiscal restraints continue to tighten military coffers.
"I can't say it any clearer. We just need your help.," Anderson said. "Every little bit matters, no matter what it is."