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They don’t get paid because they’re priceless

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- They don't do it for the recognition. They don't do it for official awards, plaques or presentations. And they certainly don't do it for the money.

They do it because they want to give back, to make a difference, and because they want to serve those who serve us.

And for those reasons - and thousands more - April has been designated as "Volunteer Appreciation Month."

We have many unsung heroes both here on Patrick and at the Cape, but none are more important than these selfless servers. They number into the hundreds and have made themselves both inseparable - and invaluable - to every unit, office and agency connected to Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

If it were not for the wonderful, caring, energetic and helpful volunteer force we have, our quality of care - and your quality of life - would be nowhere near as high as it is right now. Just as an example, now that the "tax season" has concluded, I learned that our 22 tax preparing volunteers processed more than 800 returns for our active duty, retired military and civilian community! The majority of these volunteers are "retired" and have a strong military connection.

In the 45th Medical Group alone, we have 102 registered Red Cross volunteers. Although their average age is 72, it doesn't slow them down a bit. They donated more than 17,000 hours last year alone!

The Project Emeritus program here has more than 130 very active volunteers doing unbelievable work both here at Patrick and at the Cape. For years, the group was made up exclusively of retired military and their spouses. Now, retired DoD civil servants and their spouses are also able to join in.

The bottom line is this: we couldn't do what we do without them. As the old saying goes, they don't get paid not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless.
So while we are "officially" recognizing them this month, let's remember to show our appreciation to them through the rest of the year.
Go Sharks!