A symbolic check for $376,945.50, which represented the amount of savings the installation’s volunteers provide to the range, was presented to the White Sands Missile Range command group during the 2016 Volunteer Luncheon April 18. Over 100 volunteers were recognized in this year’s reception held at the newly-renovated Frontier Club. Each volunteer was treated to a free lunch, dessert and a special presentation from WSMR’s Missile Valley Girl Scouts.
“In this room are volunteers that make WSMR a caring and loving community,” WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin said. “Without volunteers WSMR would be a dull and dreary place. The sacrifices of your time…is transformative to the human heart. I appreciate it all, the command team is deeply in your debt.”
Maj. Christopher Krupar was the recipient of this year’s Volunteer of the Year award for his volunteer efforts with the White Sands Chapel and Youth Sports. Krupar was awarded the Volunteer Service Medal by Coffin. Along with the award Krupar will now have a designated parking spot at the Post Exchange and Commissary for the entire year.
The 2016 June Bisbey Volunteer Angel of the Year award was presented to Mary Beth Reinhart for her volunteer efforts throughout the year. Reinhart worked at the installation for 22 years and is a member of the WSMR Hall of Fame. She said she has a passion for the installation and events like the Bataan Memorial Death March. The award is presented to individuals with the continuous spirit and desire to help in any way, big or small.
“I have had a few setbacks the last couple of years but I think I’m too stubborn to let that get me down,” Reinhart said.
Each volunteer was individually recognized with a certificate presented by the WSMR Command Group. There were also a series of awards presented to individuals who went above and beyond their volunteering duties. A special Helping Hand award was presented to Krystan Tjarks for her service to the Missile Valley Girl Scouts, White Sands School and White Sands Chapel, and to Natasha Merino for her contribution to the Army Volunteer Corps, library reading program and the White Sands Chapel. Volunteer of the Year nominees were also presented with a special certificate, pen and a letter from President Barack Obama.
“None of this could be done without them,” said WSMR Army Community Service Director Patsy Gomez.
Organizations that helped contribute to 2015’s Holiday Helping Hands were also recognized with a certificate during the event. The Holiday Helping Hands helps provide families in need, within the installation, with a free meal during the holidays and gifts for their children. Over 10 organizations were recognized and one individual.
This was the last year WSMR ACS Army Volunteer Corps Coordinator Anna Maria Vestal led the event after providing three years of service to the program.
“Thank you for what you do and for making my job easy,” Vestal said.