FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Fort Drum has named its 2022 volunteer of the year.
This was at Fort Drum’s Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 19 at the military commons.
According to Fort Drum officials in the 2021 fiscal year, its volunteers recorded 37,327 hours of service, which equated to a monetary value of nearly $1.1 million.
“Our volunteers proudly serve the military community and organizations in the tri-county area such as churches, schools and fire stations,” Fort Drum Garrison Commander Colonel James Zacchino said in a press release. “To our volunteers, thank you for selflessly dedicating your precious time and efforts for a cause greater than you and asking nothing in return. You are truly special, and you symbolize an incredibly awesome community.”
At the ceremony, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Commander Major General Milford H. Beagle, Jr., his wife and 10th Mountain Division Senior Enlisted Advisor Sergeant Major Mario Terrenas presented the Volunteer of the Year award to Casey Loeschen, who was also chosen for the Soldier and Family Readiness Volunteer of the Year.
Loeschen was highlighted for her work as the 10th Mountain Division Band Soldier and Readiness Group Leader. Throughout 2021 she logged volunteer hours where she completed administrative work, organized events, maintained social media pages and supported numerous Fort Drum fundraisers.
“I’ve loved it,” Loeschen said. “A lot of times I would get nervous because I wanted to get a lot done perfectly, but everybody would say they really enjoyed everything. It makes me happy knowing I could help support Soldiers and families.”
Additionally, Jennifer Mapes was named the Large Community Group Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Fort Drum Medical Activity Red Cross Volunteer Program. Throughout the year, she managed the onboarding of new volunteers and coordinated internships. She also was recognized for introducing a new Red Cross Comfort Care program to Fort Drum.
Fort Drum also awarded the Small Community Group Volunteer of the Year title to Emily Fitzgerald who worked with the leadership team in 2020 to establish the local Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network. Since then, the chapter has grown its network to over 2,100 members.
The final award, Youth Group Volunteer of the Year, was given to Skyla Dixon who was recognized for volunteering every third Saturday of the month at the Feed the Vet food pantry. She also organized and collected books for the “Read One, Leave One” campaign.
Volunteers of the year were chosen following a nomination period, where nominees were submitted by Fort Drum units and organizations throughout the year.