NEWS | June 10, 2019

Virginia National Guard honors volunteers at 2019 Volunteer Recognition & Training Workshop

By A.J. Coyne JFHQ Public Affairs

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia — Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, the Virginia National Guard Director of the Joint Staff, honored dozens of VNG volunteers at the 2019 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition and Training Workshop June 9, 2019, in Williamsburg, Virginia. The annual two-day event recognizes and thanks volunteers for their efforts in support of family programs and includes training and information sessions on a variety of topics.

“As a uniformed servicemember, we’re out doing our nation’s business around the globe,” Ring said. “But it’s our family members who provide the strength to make that happen.”

“Virginia is one of the top states in terms of participation of volunteers and the impact those volunteers have,” said Joe Duerksen, Virginia National Guard lead child and youth coordinator. “There are some states that don’t have anywhere near the number of volunteers that Virginia has. That’s a testament to your commitment to creating that National Guard family.”

The workshop brought together Family Readiness Group volunteers and Youth Program adult and teen volunteers from across the state for two days of training and recognition.

Saturday was divided into three training tracks. FRG volunteers participated in sessions led by Penny Zenker, an international trainer, business strategy coach and author, who discussed “The Productivity Zone.” The volunteers also conducted sexual assault response training and presentations on Family Readiness Support Services. Teen volunteers participated in team building activities, conducted a service project, and discussed “The Energy of Thought” with Zenker. Youth program adult volunteers spent the day conducting CPR and sexual assault response training.

On Sunday, Ring recognized each of the volunteers with a certificate and an award while senior leaders from major Virginia Guard commands presented certificates to their respective volunteers.

“We don’t take anything you do for granted,” said Cynthia Warren, senior family readiness support assistant. “Nothing is too small. Everything you do is appreciated. Thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you will continue to do.”

In addition, the VNG Family Programs office saluted several of their volunteers who have received national recognition for their work- the Martin family and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb.

The Martin family of Joshua, Lauren, Lehua and KJ Martin were previously recognized as the Army National Guard Family of the Year for demonstrating outstanding and exceptional service to Family Programs. Joshua Martin is a Virginia Army National Guard chief warrant officer 3 who serves as a training officer in the G3 state training and operations directorate and Lauren Martin serves as a civilian budget analyst in the G3 and also as a sergeant first class in the Virginia Army National Guard in a traditional Guard status.

Holcomb was previously announced as the recipient of the Extra Mile Award that recognizes a retiree who distinguishes themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to Family Programs by continuing to serve the National Guard through their volunteer efforts.

According to Duerksen, the amount of volunteer hours given to the youth program alone this year equated to more than $95,000.

“Your time is valuable,” he said. “It’s the most valuable commodity any of us have. Thank you for your support.”

“We just briefed the hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of volunteer hours you’ve provided,” Ring added. “The monetary cost is minor. The big thing is the dedication that you’re putting toward making our formations ready, supporting youth programs, supporting unit readiness programs, and allowing our Soldiers and Airmen to focus on the military duties we do. Thank you for everything you do.”

If you would like more information about VNG FRG Volunteer Program please contact Cynthia Warren,

If you would like more information about the VNG Child and Youth Program please contact, Joe Duerksen,

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