Hunter AAF Honors Volunteers

Times get tough when the soldiers are overseas. But the military family knows what to do to pull everyone through. You'd be amazed by some of the things they do to keep the base and deployed soldiers' families' lives on track.

We attended a special awards ceremony to honor them today at Hunter Army Airfield. It's called the Pot of Gold awards. Army officials say the time and dedication these people put into taking care of soldiers' spouses and keeping the post running smoothly is worth its weight in gold.

Volunteers who are helping to hold down the post while their soldiers are deployed to Iraq are a small group of people, with some very big hearts. They gather at the community center at Hunter.

"Our Ranger battalion is gone, one of our aviation battalions is on its 40th consecutive month since September 11, and now the Third ID is deployed for an entire year," said garrison commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Goble. "So the volunteerism it takes to keep all of our families ready, taking care of soldiers doing our nation's business is really now when we see the value of volunteerism kicking in."

Elizabeth Descoteaux was one of 19 people honored today. Her husband deployed last month. She volunteers her time--even with three children and baby on the way--to send out a newsletter to families of deployed soldiers.

"I often don't think of all the hours I've put in," she said. "It's no big deal, but to be recognized is a great feeling."

Hunter Army Airfield honors its volunteers at ceremonies like this four times a year. That way, no one's devotion and hard work goes unnoticed.

"The timeliness is very important, plus just the sheer volume of the volunteerism that we have," said Lt. Col. Goble. "If we only did this once a year, it would take up an entire day because we'd have a whole room full of people."

Since 1992, Hunter Army Airfield has handed out more than 3,000 Pot of Gold awards.

Other volunteers recognized today help out with the Red Cross, they coach little league teams, even work at the thrift store on post.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter,