Va. Guard honors volunteers at 2013 Volunteer Recognition Workshop

Virginia National Guard volunteers pose with Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Bryan Rhode and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and members of the Virginia Guard Family Programs office at the 2013 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium April 20 in Richmond. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia National Guard volunteers pose with Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Bryan Rhode, Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and members of the Virginia Guard Family Programs office at the 2013 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium April 20, in Richmond. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Bryan Rhode and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia, were among those who recognized and honored Virginia National Guard volunteers at the 2013 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium April 20, 2013, in Richmond.

This year’s Volunteer Recognition Conference was the largest since its inception in August 2008, according to Vickie Sais, the Virginia National Guard Family Programs director. More than 100 people attended this year’s event where 72 adult and youth volunteers received awards in recognition of their support of family programs over the past year, including family readiness groups, youth camps, and various other programs.

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia, presents the 2013 National Guard Bureau Family Program National Youth Developmental Award to Ben Billmyer at the Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium April 20 in Richmond. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia, presents the 2013 National Guard Bureau Family Program National Youth Developmental Award to Ben Billmyer at the Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium April 20 in Richmond. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“Volunteers are the backbone of our program and give freely of their time and energy while expecting nothing in return, so saying thanks to them is perfect at this type of event,” Sais said. “Our Virginia National Guard volunteers have remained steadfast and eager to provide continued support and assistance to all Virginia service members and their families.”

In addition, Ben Billmyer received the 2013 National Guard Bureau Family Program National Youth Developmental Award. Billmyer is the son of Master Sgt. Jeffrey Billmyer of the Virginia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters and Sgt. 1st Class Ellen Billmyer of the Virginia Army National Guard Medical Command. He is currently a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and has volunteered for six years with youth programming, trainings and camps.

“This award was given based on his dedication, commitment, and passion for his volunteerism that began during his teenage years through his transition into adult volunteering,” said Drew Davis the lead child and youth coordinator for Virginia National Guard Family Programs. “Ben defines volunteering with Virginia National Guard youth and we hope he continues to do so for years to come.”

The workshop included several guest speakers. Chip Lutz, a retired Naval officer spoke to the adult volunteers about “Commmunication 101.” Lutz, a seasoned educator and trainer, is currently adjunct faculty for two different universities and has taught classes in leadership, management, human resource development, and organizational behavior.

Tom Krause, author of “A Teen’s Guide to NOT Being Perfect” also spoke to the group. Krause’s book discusses such teen topics as stress, weight loss, emotions, confidence, and addiction.

Following lunch, Decker and Long each spoke and then presented awards to the volunteers honored for their service for the past year.


Photos- Virginia Guard honors volunteers at 2013 Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium