The American Red Cross is found in 187 countries and is a charitable organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of common citizens to perform its mission.

Fort Bragg’s American Red Cross members, who are an integral part of life on post, were recognized and presented certificates of appreciation May 8, during an awards ceremony at the Fort Bragg Club.

Command Sgt. Maj. Yolonda Tate, Fort Bragg Garrison command sergeant major, was the keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony and emphasized just how important volunteers are to the success of Fort Bragg.

“This is a celebration,” said Tate. “When you get to acknowledge all the work and dedication that people do for our community, it means a whole lot to us because without the help of our volunteers, we would not be able to accomplish a lot the things we do on Fort Bragg and in our surrounding communities.”

Tate emphasized the special connection to giving back to others volunteers must have to be successful.

“When we talk about servitude, we are talking about someone having a servant’s heart or being a blessing to someone in need,” said Tate. “It’s important that we serve others by reaching out, helping those who are in need.

Eighteen volunteers and businesses were recognized for their volunteerism during the ceremony.

This year’s Exceptional Volunteer was Joanne Perez, a medical assistant student with the Red Cross was appreciative for the recognition but purposely volunteers to give back.

Perez, who has volunteered for three years, demonstrates exceptional service, extensive personal commitment and contributing to the improvement of Red Cross services.

“I don’t do it for the recognition,” said Perez. “When I first arrived here, I really wanted to work in warrior transition, but there wasn’t any space available, so I asked to help out wherever I could and I’ve been doing it ever since. I just want to give back to the Soldiers wherever I can help.”

The service community plays a large role in the continued success of Fort Bragg and the Red Cross volunteer ceremony takes a moment to recognize those on Fort Bragg who make a concerted effort to address the needs of the community.

“It’s great to be here because without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to support all the programs that we have on the installation,” said Tate. “It’s a pleasure to be here to recognize all those people who have given their time and effort.”