Military Salutes: Marne Spirit Awards - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Military Salutes: Marne Spirit Awards

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FORT STEWART (WTOC) -

Many of Fort Stewart's most faithful stepped into the spotlight for a few moments of praise. Commanders presented the Marne Spirit Awards to people like 1st Sgt Airan Atkinson, who not only volunteers, but he led other soldiers in his company to join him.

"When we go out to places like the homeless shelter, it makes us appreciative of the opportunities that we have," he explained.

Some of the volunteers give their time at Fort Stewart's hospital, others at the schools on post. Many help soldiers and families adjust to Army life and help make them part of the family.

"We try to bring a sense of community. Sometimes it's just a phone call - 'hey, did you get our emails?' and getting them involved in what's going on," noted military spouse Lisa Pinkard.

Commanders estimated it would cost millions to pay for the hours donated over the past year, even at minimum wage. However, they said, the value goes beyond money.

"The volunteers we recognized today have lives, they have kids of their own … and they give up willingly time away from their families to help others here at Fort Stewart,” stated Third Infantry Division commander MG Mike Murray. "It's not that it makes it easier, it's that it makes it possible. If we didn't have the volunteers giving the hours that they do for programs here, there would be no services for soldiers or families here at Fort Stewart."

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