Virginia National Guard honors volunteers at 2015 Volunteer Recognition Workshop

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, assists in recognizing and honoring Virginia National Guard volunteers July 18, 2015, in Richmond, Va., at the 2015 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop.  (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, assists in recognizing and honoring Virginia National Guard volunteers July 18, 2015, in Richmond, Va., at the 2015 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, joined the commanders of several Virginia National Guard commands to recognize and honor Virginia National Guard volunteers at the 2015 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium July 18, 2015, in Richmond.

“It is an absolute honor for Cheryl and I to be able to recognize the important role of our volunteers,” Williams said. “Every chance I get, I tell the Governor, other state-level leaders, elected officials and anyone else who will listen that the Virginia National Guard can’t do its mission without the support of our loved ones and the volunteers who support our families.”

The purpose of the volunteer workshop and youth symposium is to recognize adult and youth volunteers and thank them for everything they’ve done over the past year in support of family programs including family readiness groups, youth camps and various other programs.

“We wouldn’t be able to provide the services we do without our volunteers,” said Vickie Sais, the Virginia National Guard Family Programs director. “They’re the backbone of our program, and we can’t place a value on what they do.”

Commanders from the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Bowling Green-based 91st Troop Command, Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group and the Fort Pickett-based Joint Force Headquarters were on hand to recognize volunteers within their commands.

More than 150 volunteers assisted with Family Readiness Programs and Youth Programs in the last year, Sais said. From April 2014 to April 2015, adult volunteers provided almost 5,300 hours of support and youth volunteers offered nearly 4,100 hours. Based on the independent sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour being $22.55 per hour, volunteers provided more than $211,000 worth of support to the Guard’s mission.

Volunteers take on any number of roles in support of the commander’s readiness program including Family Readiness Group leaders and co-leaders, phone tree callers, FRG fund treasurers and newsletter editor, she said.

All support the ability for commanders to disseminate pertinent and relevant family information to designated family members of our Service Members. In addition to helping with information flow, they also provide referrals to resources when needed and support to the Soldiers and their family members when necessary.

Both youth and adult volunteers provided support to the various activities hosted by the Youth Program including the Teen Camp for ages 13 to 17, the Youth Camp for ages 8 to 12, Teen Resiliency Retreats, Back to School Bashes, Community Service Projects, Teen Panel Trainings and events in partnership with 4-H.

“If we didn’t have the volunteers we wouldn’t be able to support our families and service members,” Sais said. “Even with the slowdown in overseas deployments, volunteers are as important now with the high operational training tempo of Virginia National Guard units.”

View photos of the presentations on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157656239424962