Fort Bragg Honors Volunteers For Their Community Service
Posted April 12, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
FORT BRAGG — Volunteers at Fort Bragg worked over 400,000 hours last year. On Thursday, the volunteer soldiers, spouses and retirees were given a huge thank you.
Bowley Elementary School counts on volunteers like Beth Lechner. The military wife is one of 90 volunteers at the school each month and one of 10,000 who donate their time at Fort Bragg every year.
"Often we are in a community for just a little while, so we have to make the biggest impact we can in the shortest amount of time," Lechner says.
Together in 1999, volunteers gave 423,000 hours of their time to the military community.
Marianne Kernan, the wife of Fort Bragg commander Lieutenant General Buck Kernan, says volunteerism is what makes the post a community.
"It gives them ownership," Kernan says. "You have to learn home is where you are right then, not where you came from."
Staff Sergeant Pat Grecinger attends book fairs with his son. After school, he is on the field with many children as their coach.
"Hopefully, we are teaching them some good values," Grecinger says. "It's challenging and rewarding."
Fort Bragg's commander says there is no way the Army could afford to pay what volunteers give to the community. They say it would cost over $6.2 million to pay for the services the volunteers provide.