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Soldier's 'second job' is giving

Volunteer of the Year

POSTED: September 23, 2012 10:33 a.m.
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Soldier Volunteer of the Year Sgt. 1st Class Lori McCampbell, left, is surprised by her executive officer, Maj. Randall Klingensmith, who gave her a coin for the recognition.

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Sgt. 1st Class Lori McCampbell dedicates her days to the Warrior Transition Battalion on Fort Stewart, but she’s coming into the time of year when she will give her nights to brighten Christmas morning for Liberty County children.
McCampbell, who was named Soldier Volunteer of the Year, brought order to a hectic Toys for Tots operation last year to ensure that new United Way of the Coastal Empire Liberty County branch director Jennifer Darsey maximized the campaign and giveaway.
“I would leave work every day about 4:30, 5 o’clock and I would stay close to midnight,” McCampbell said about how she racked up hundreds of volunteer hours between October and the mid-December distribution day.
McCampbell helped to ensure more than 2,700 children received toys from the campaign, which presented a challenge because prior toy campaigns allocated gifts by family rather than individual children, she said.
When Courier Publisher Mark Griffin awarded McCampbell during the Sept. 13 award ceremony, he said that soldiers do not often have time to give, which adds importance to their service.
McCampbell confirmed that it’s a struggle, but also a matter of prioritizing.
“It is hard. You get home late. You still have to get up early and make sure you meet your responsibilities and your obligations at work,” she said. “Everybody has different priorities; mine benefit so that I’m able to assist, and when I am able, I do what I can.”
A Cincinnati native, the soldier has been stationed at Fort Stewart since 2004 and has served just more than 11 years in the Army. She plans to contribute to Toys for Tots again this year.
 When McCampbell received the award Sept. 13, her executive officer, Maj. Randall Klingensmith, jumped into the ceremony to honor her with a coin containing a unit insignia on one side and an inscription on the reverse side.
“It is used to recognize soldiers ‘on the spot’ for special achievement. My commander chose to recognize her there because she not only does a great job here inside our unit making sure our soldiers have what they need in a timely manner inside our personnel section, but she also takes her own time to volunteer and give of herself back to the very community that supports our organization and the Army,” Klingensmith said.
“It felt pretty good. I was honored for him to have said something on my behalf — it’s not just being recognized by the United Way, but my organization. It kind of reinforces that what I do is a good thing,” McCampbell said. “It makes all those extra hours after work extremely worth it.”
Klingensmith said the command is immensely proud of McCampbell and that she sets a positive example for fellow soldiers.
“It shows that not only is she assigned here to Fort Stewart in order to do the mission, but she is truly calling this home by getting involved and making a difference for our neighbors inside the community … ,” Klingensmith said. “The Warrior Transition Battalion enjoys tremendous community support, for which we are grateful. And to see our soldiers returning that support by volunteering just further demonstrates that volunteering not only improves the lives of those receiving the assistance, but the lives of those volunteering.”

Editor's note: This is the second in a six-part series to honor the 2012 Coastal Courier and United Way Volunteer of the Year award winners.

 

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