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Gazette Premium Content Volunteers saved Fort Carson big bucks

By Erin Prater Published: May 19, 2013

More than 150 Fort Carson volunteers were recognized May 8 for saving the post nearly $3 million in manpower costs last year.

Fort Carson commander Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera hosted the awards luncheon to recognize volunteers who gave more than 100 hours of their time last year to organizations like family readiness groups, Army Community Service and the Fort Carson Thrift Shop.

"I'm so proud of them," said Joey Bautist, the post's volunteer services manager. "In the Army, we are one family. We take care of our own."

Army spouse Erin Schoenfeldt was one of five people given the post's volunteer of the year award, the highest honor given at the luncheon.

Schoenfeldt began volunteering in 2010, when her husband deployed to Iraq.

She thought volunteering would be a good way to socialize, stay occupied and build a support network for herself.

"Volunteering can become addictive," she said. "It's a way for me to still be a stay-at-home mom, but do something worthwhile that others can benefit from."

Schoenfeldt didn't end her volunteer commitments when her husband came home from war.

Last year, she volunteered more than 1,000 hours with the Mountain Post Santa's Workshop, Army Community Services Mayoral Program and the Mountain Post Spouses Club.

The best part of the award: the excitement on her children's face when she showed them the trophy she was given.

"They thought it was the neatest thing," Schoenfeldt said, adding that her volunteer career recently inspired her young son to participate in a canned food drive.

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