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Reserve selects Volunteer Excellence Award recipient

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Helping families of activated reservists earned a volunteer from Niagara Falls, N.Y., the Air Force Reserve Command’s first Volunteer Excellence Award.

Jacqueline M. Newman received the Carol Eizonas Smith and Patriccia Batbie Volunteer Excellence Award May 1. Col. James B. Roberts Jr., 914th Airlift Wing commander, presented the award plaque and a certificate signed by the AFRC vice commander to Mrs. Newman during a wing commander’s call at Niagara Falls International Airport Air Reserve Station.

Each year a nameplate recognizing the winner is placed on display at Headquarters AFRC.

“Mrs. Newman is an enthusiastic and dynamic leader who sprang into action to support the families when our unit was activated and deployed,” said Laura M. Coseglia, 914th AW Family Support director.

“She was instrumental in providing crucial information to families when communication mechanisms were not readily available at the deployed location,” Ms. Coseglia said. “Her tireless dedication to our military families has helped strengthen the unit and the Niagara community.”

As chairperson of the Niagara Falls’ Key Family Member Program, Mrs. Newman guides a volunteer force of more than 30 participants. Her team developed a quarterly bulletin for families, designed a coin, hosted numerous special events and developed a support system for families of 914th AW reservists.

“I find my volunteer work to be challenging at times and yet truly rewarding,” said Mrs. Newman when she learned she had won the award. “I enjoy helping others and meeting new people.”

The Air Force established the Volunteer Excellence Award several years ago, said Betty Schuster, chief of Air Force Reserve Family Matters at Headquarters AFRC. The award recognizes Department of Defense civilians, family members, and military and federal retirees who perform outstanding volunteer community service that helps people over a sustained period of time.

“Members of the Headquarters AFRC Volunteer Advisory Council created a special command award last November and entitled it the Carol Eizonas Smith and Patriccia Batbie Volunteer Excellence Award,” Ms. Schuster said.

The annual award pays tribute to the volunteer work done by the wives of two former AFRC vice commanders, Maj. Gen. David Smith and Maj. Gen. John J. Batbie, Jr. Award winners are announced during National Volunteer Week. This year the observance was April 17-23.