Virginia Guard honors, thanks volunteers for their support

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Diane Long present a certificate of appreciation to Jacqueline Wilson for her support as a volunteer with the Virginia National Guard at the Virginia National Guard Volunteer Recognition Workshop June 14 in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va — Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Diane Long, recognized Virginia National Guard volunteers at the Virginia National Guard Volunteer Recognition Workshop July 14 in Virginia Beach. The volunteers received certificates and momentos in recognition of their support of various programs over the past year, including family readiness groups, family programs, youth camps and various other programs.

“Volunteers are an integral part of the National Guard Family Program and without their time, dedication, and commitment, it would be impossible to do everything we do for service members and families,” said Vickie Sais, the Virginia National Guard director of Family Programs. “At this workshop, we wanted to sincerely thank all our volunteers who give freely of themselves expecting nothing in return. Our volunteers make a huge difference and we can’t thank them enough.”

The purpose of the workshop was to recognize and thank volunteers for their selfless sacrifice and commitment to the Soldiers and families of the Virginia National Guard. But the workshop also provided them with additional information and training that they can pass on to other volunteers or families.

The volunteers were treated to lunch and presentations from a number of speakers. Kelly Swanson, a motivational speaker, author, storyteller and comedian talked about resiliency.

“We find out who we are when we fall down and get back up,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that you fall. What matters is when you get back up.”

Attendees at the Virginia National Guard Volunteer Wokshop laugh during a presentation by Kelly Swanson, a motivational speaker, author, storyteller and comedianJuly 14 in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

During lunch, Debbi Turlip spoke about volunteerism. Turlip, a recepient of the Virginia National Guard Commendation Medal, is an advocate for military families and the spouse of a former commander of the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd RED HORSE Squadron.

Emergency specialist Laurie Ecklund Long also spoke and provided information to the volunteers about the keys to surviving natural disasters, terminal illness and family loss.

While the adult volunteers were in one room, the teen volunteers were next door with Dee Davies LaMay, a teambuilding facilitator, whose workshops are designed to help promote learning, and discover creative strategies, tactics and tools for leadership.

“It’s exciting to be able to recognize the teens who participate in our program,” said Drew Davis, director of youth programs for the Virginia National Guard. “And also to provide them with the excellent training we had this weekend.”

To view photos from the event, visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157630624036058/