Fort Leonard Wood and the surrounding community came together for the annual, nationwide Make a Difference Day. This encompassing national volunteer day happens on the fourth Saturday of October and is dedicated to helping others.
According to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, MADD is the largest national day of community service.
It was the twelfth year Fort Leonard Wood participated in this event — a day of service where volunteers throughout the country accomplish specific projects to support their communities.
MADD began with 201 runners participating in a 5K Fun Run to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
All volunteers then continued on to their assigned project areas, amounting to 2,500 volunteers around the installation.
Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, filled planters Saturday with her husband, Chris Martin.
“People are willing to give of their free time on a Saturday and come out and make a difference, not only on the installation but in their communities, and that says a lot about our team of teams,” she said.
“Many of these people are donating their time throughout the year, but especially today on national Make a Difference Day,” Chris Martin added. “For all the volunteers who are making a difference every day, thank you for all you do.”
Although it rained heavily most of the day, volunteers did not let that stand in their way.
A few projects will be concluded this coming week due to the weather and flooding conditions.
“A heart of a volunteer is not measured in size but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others and of course to strengthen our communities. You can make a difference each day with the time and support you offer to one another, and you never know how many lives you touch when you volunteer to help,” said Rhonda Hutsell, Army Volunteer Corps coordinator. “I want to thank everyone for coming out for this national Make a Difference Day annual event. All of you truly make Fort Leonard Wood the most wonderful place to live and work.”
Soldiers from the 554th Engineer Battalion were among those who showed up, despite inclement weather.
“I know it’s raining, but it’s great to be out here this morning with my whole battalion, working together and making a difference,” said 2nd Lt. Chelsie Cooper, 554th Engr. Bn, Engineer Basic Officer Leadership Course.
Projects on the installation included several restoration and beautification projects in popular areas like the Fort Leonard Wood horse stables, dog Park, 554th Engineer Battalion, entrance of the Commissary, Colyer Park and the Missouri Veterans Cemetery — Fort Leonard Wood.