Robert Ives, a volunteer and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville received his Iron Mike Gold Star Award for his efforts at the museum, as well as serving as a volunteer with the USO at the Fayetteville Airport during the quarterly Iron Mike Awards ceremony, April 22, at the Fort Bragg Club.

Ives was the sole Gold Star recipient in a ceremony that honored a total of 29 volunteers throughout the post.

Fort Bragg Garrison commander Col. Jeffrey M. Sanborn ,served as guest speaker at the event.

Sanborn thanked the volunteers for their service, pointing out that their efforts played a big part in strengthening the country. “The things that you do for our economy strengthen our community,” he said. “They strengthen the resilience of our Soldiers, our Airmen and Families to go out and do the nation’s duty. So yes, you do. You strengthen our nation. Thank you very much for that.”

Sanborn said those efforts will be even more critical as the country faces the pending furloughs and government cutbacks.

“Your continued contributions are going to continue to be more and more important in the future. I think that the most critical void that we need to fill in our community is that of the folks who can put together and actually organize volunteer efforts. Folks who can recognize the need, see the hole that’s out there in the community, recognize the service that we’re no longer doing  or otherwise understand needs to be done, and create a vision for appointing other volunteers to fill that void. Those are the types of things we’re going to need in the future and it’s people like you whom I know are going to fill that void,” Sanborn said.

Alice Stephens, Fort Bragg’s Volunteer coordinator, said she was pleased with the turnout and proud of the efforts of the awardees in attendance.

“This quarter’s awardees are pretty special because this quarter actually fell on volunteer week and our volunteers have logged more hours and they’ve been doing more towards observing volunteer week,” she explained. “As always, we’ve got great volunteers here, helping out our Soldiers and Families and I just love that fact that this ceremony fell on volunteer week, where we can recognize them during National Volunteer Week.”

Ives explained that the decision to volunteer was an easy one for him.

“I have some free time and I enjoy talking to people, getting out the message of the Airborne Special Operations Museum and glad-handing the Soldiers, Airmen and Family members who come through and take advantage of  the USO out at the airport,” said Ives, 78, who began volunteering at the ASOM two months before it officially opened in August 2000. “I’ll tell you, I get more out of it than they put in it. Guaranteed.”

Other awardees included:

Iron Mike Pins:  Michelle Amos-Wall; Jerry Boeshore; Katina Bookard; Aimee Butler; Emily Damboise; Amanda Downey; Adrienne Elder; Richele Ellicott; Ingrid Fornier; Brittany Hutcheson; Melissa Lewandowski; Stephanie Miller; Krista Morgan; Vivian Nihart; April Reibestein; Yreana-Rene Flack; Sondra Rowlett; Jennifer Rubal; Kevin Russell Jr.; Stephanie Santiago;  Renee Schuldt; Joy Sebren, Migdalia Sebren; Iesha Stancombe; Jennifer Sung; Laura Thompson; Ashley Kachenko; Linda Torres; Jennifer Wagnon; Laura Wheeler; Alecia Wilkes; and Dennis Zuroff, all of whom were awarded the Iron Mike pin.

Bronze star recipients included: Miller Browder, Carolyn Campbell, Birgit Counts, Lisa Fenzel, Evee Gardner, Denise Meador, Jamie Milburn, Janelle Nesbit, Shakeyta Taylor-Williams, Desiree Moszer, Sherri Naumann, Gail Sharpsten all received their silver star awards.