Those who can do more, volunteer

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to be able to recognize - and personally thank - many of the volunteers who make such a huge difference here in the 45th Space Wing.

The highlight of the reception held at the Airman & Family Readiness Center was the presentation of the Volunteer Excellence Awards to three individuals, Candice Graves, Trudy Hughes and Michael McAleenan, for their long-term service to the wing and local community.

How much of a difference do they make? Well, let's take a look at the numbers.

In 2009, our volunteers donated more than 41,000 hours - that's about 5,100 8-hour days - to benefit all of us in and around Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Just take a look in every corner of the wing, and you will see these behind-the-scenes heroes making everything they touch more effective and efficient.

Not only that, these selfless volunteers combined to save the Wing more than $800,000 in wages and benefits that we did not have to pay for services rendered. Think about it for a  minute. These are resources we can use somewhere else. It's sometimes hard to find the exact words to properly express our gratitude for what they do 365 days a year.

When I think of the hundreds of volunteers it reminds me of an old adage: "Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer."

Do more.

These are the watchwords most volunteers live by. It's not that they feel they "have" to do more; it's that they "want" to do more. That's a big difference.

President Ronald Reagan once said, "no matter how big and powerful government gets, and the many services it provides, it can never take the place of volunteers." Well, the same goes for the Air Force and our 45th Space Wing.

Thanks for all you do, for all of us.