April 24, 2006 – Ever since the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City, the mission of the National Guard has dramatically expanded.
To achieve that mission the V.I. National Guard has had help from a host of volunteers.
In a ceremony Monday, the beginning of National Volunteer Week, members of the Guard started showing their appreciation to some of those volunteers.
Pins and certificates were presented to the first of 138 volunteers to be honored this week. The ceremony was held at the Joint Force Headquarters in Five Corners on St. Croix.
A second ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday at Leonard B. Francis Armory in Estate Nazareth.
Brig. Gen. Eddy L. Charles said the volunteers play vital roles, keeping problems at home off the minds of soldiers "down range" so they can focus on their mission.
He said he has again and again seen the volunteers at deployment and welcome home ceremonies and as well preparing packages to send overseas to the men and women in the Guard.
He said, "I sometimes wonder where all the dedication comes from."
The easy banter of conversation he exchanged with those coming up to the front of the room to be recognized suggested that he did see many of them on many occasions.
Capt. Cecil Corneille, chaplain, gave the opening prayer. He said it was a time to give thanks for "the National Guard, the Virgin Islands and these volunteers."
Jaslyn Scatliffe, family readiness guard assistant, opened the program, saying, "It is time to say thank you to these special people."
Linda Todman prefaced the presentation by quoting from a poem, "Loyal, sincere, and full of good cheer,//Untiring in your efforts throughout this year."
The recognized volunteers include 55 from the St. Thomas-St. John district and 83 from St. Croix.
Regional formal awards and recognition ceremonies are scheduled May 20 on St. Croix and May 21 on St. Thomas.
Upcoming practical programs for Guard families include a Marriage Enrichment Seminar on St. Croix, May 5 to 7, and Youth Leadership Camp on St. Croix, June 25 to 30.
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