Fort Leonard Wood organizations provide Family volunteer opportunities Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 June 2017
By Valerie Collins
GUIDON volunteer

There are many volunteer-supported programs that benefit the Families of Fort Leonard Wood. For some Families, it is not about receiving the benefits, it is about how they can give back to the community and spend time together.

“How you spend your time matters,” said Cindy Dack, director of religious education on Fort Leonard Wood. She works with many Families who volunteer to better the community and strengthen the Family bonds.
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Soldiers and Family members volunteer at Thayer Elementary School during Make a Difference Day doing service projects in October of 2016. Fort Leonard Wood organizations offer numerous opportunities for Families to volunteer together. File photo

One Family that Dack knows well is the  Bennett Family, who provides numerous hours of service through the post religious programs.

Master Sgt. Bill Bennett volunteers along with his wife, Lisa, and son, Don. Dack said she credited the Bennett Family with 500 volunteer hours in 2016, collectively, but she says she is quite sure that they gave more. Their volunteer efforts earned them the Family Volunteer of the Year award for 2016.

Lisa, who has been volunteering for 20 years, said it is hard to put a number on something that does not seem like work. She said she has always had a giving spirit.

“If there is a need, and if I can fill it, I will jump in,” Lisa said.

Don, the teenager of the Bennett clan, believes  volunteering is something he will continue to do. He  jokes, there are some opportunities he is not particularly fond of, but believes giving back to the community is  important.

Bill said his heart is with the military, which is why it means so much to him to be able to dedicate a lot of his volunteer time to the chapel on post.

This Family agrees, when they are not volunteering, they have a hard time finding something to do as a Family that everyone enjoys.

Bill said, volunteering allows them to serve the community in ways that stay true to their faith and Family values.

The Bennett Family serves as just one example of the many Families that contribute their time and talents to various organizations around the installation.

Kelly Brownfield, Fort Leonard Wood USO center director, said seeing Families volunteer in her facility is both helpful, and is great for the Soldiers. She welcomes Families to help out together at the USO. Brownfield said she has Families that spend hours at the USO, and some that provide seemingly small gestures of service, such as bringing in baked goods for Soldiers.

Brownfield said it is not always about the grand gestures.

“The little things go a long way to make a Soldier feel at home,” Brownfield said. She added that just dedicating a little bit of time is meaningful and can be a great way to help brighten a young Soldier’s day.

For more information about volunteer opportunities for Families, call the American Red Cross at 573.596.0131; ext 60300, or visit them in Building 470, Room 1130.