Post honors Family, volunteers of the year

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Fort Jackson honored its top Families and volunteers during National Volunteer Week at the Family of the Year/Volunteers of the Year Ceremony at the NCO Club April 28.

Marilynn Bailey, Fort Jackson’s volunteer coordinator said, “We salute all of our volunteers for contributing so many hours of selfless service in personal dedication and our Families for their unique contributions and daily sacrifices while supporting the Army mission.”

Fort Jackson Commanding General Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis said it was an “honor and a pleasure” to be here spending some time recognizing volunteers and Families for the hard work they put in helping the community.

“I am so glad that we can recognize the best among us,” he said to a group of Soldiers and Family members from Basic Combat Training units, garrison, and Partners in Excellence.

Tens of millions of Americans collectively volunteer their time and its essential to the national identity to do so, Michaelis added.

Volunteering inspires others to volunteer as well. The volunteers and Families were recognized for not only doing their part for the community, but inspired others as well. Their work was a “unifying power” that Soldiers across post felt every day.

The ceremony was different from previous iterations as winners were named in the youth, Family member/civilian and active duty categories.

The Tomasura Family was named Family of the Year; Stuart Sword, Jr. was named Youth Volunteer of the Year; Kate McManus was named Family Member Volunteer of the Year; and Sgt. Malinda Crummitt was selected as the Active Duty Volunteer of the Year.

Stuart Sword, Jr. son of Command Sgt. Maj. Stuart Sword with 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment demonstrated “genuine care and compassion for all individuals.” He volunteered at 30 different events and encouraged positive behaviors as a youth sports mentor. The math and science tutor also volunteered to set up a morale concert for Fort Jackson trainees and helped decorate a dining facility for Thanksgiving.

McManus was nominated in part for her hard work behind the scenes creating the “Behind the Wire” social media campaign, which kept trainees connected to their Families. Behind the Wire has been adopted by all Basic Combat Training units on Fort Jackson.

Crummitt was nominated by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 193rd Infantry Brigade for her volunteer efforts that included 22 community service opportunities; coaching Child, Youth Services Soccer for 3 to 6-year-olds; and helping deliver 6,000 pounds of food to homeless shelters in Columbia.

Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Tomasura, his wife Amanda, and their children Timothy, Zoey and Mackenzie, were recognized for volunteering at Richland North East High School and served as lead planners/volunteers for a Gold Star teen adventure that hosted 20 teenagers that lost a family member in the Global War on Terror. The Family had to plan the timeline and serve as support coordinators for the entire event in less than 72 hours.

Michaelis urged people to volunteer and take care of others.

“I encourage everyone to learn how to get involved in taking care of each other,” Michaelis said. “The world needs more people who see volunteering as part of our identity.”