By Sgt. Jason Dangel

4th Infantry Division public affairs

Leaders from the 4th Infantry Division recognized 20 “Steadfast and Loyal” volunteers for their service and unmatched dedication to the division and its soldiers during a ceremony held at the 4th Inf. Div.’s headquarters building Tuesday.

The awards were given based on exceptional volunteerism and significant contributions to the well-being of the 4th Inf. Div.’s soldiers, families and the community.

Dozens of leaders, soldiers, and family members from across the division were on hand for the event to thank the awardees for their dedication to “Ivy” Division.

A special thanks, recorded from Camp Liberty in Baghdad, was also given by Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, who expressed his sincere appreciation for the support and also reported on their early successes in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“The volunteer ceremony, for us, is a way for thanking the people who have volunteered their time to help the division as we go forward with mission,” said Sgt. Maj. Roger Heinze, rear detachment sergeant major, 4th Inf. Div.

“There is no way we can repay the spouses, families and supporters from the central Texas community for their continued support for the division,” he continued.

“This is just a small way we are saying thanks to all of those involved.”

One volunteer award winner, Laura Aguilar, wife of 1st Sgt. Francisco Aguilar, Company E, 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, said supporting her husband’s unit and his soldiers is what she dedicates her life to.

“Receiving this award feels really special,” she said shortly after the conclusion of the event. “This is what I dedicate my life to, and it’s great to know that I’m making a difference.”

According to Aguilar, her service to the soldiers is a full-time job and despite the fact she doesn’t get paid for her service, she wouldn’t trade her volunteer work for the warriors of the 4th Inf. Div. for the world.

With approximately 5,000 soldiers from the “Ivy” Division’s Headquarters and 3rd Brigade Combat Team currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and as the rest of the division continues to train for their return to combat, Heinze said the support from the volunteers and the community is more important now more than ever.

“When a soldier is deployed he has the mission on his mind and he wants to know that back here on the home front that things are taken care of so he can focus on the mission,” he said.

“There are some amazing people out there that support this division everyday,” Heinze explained.

“I’ve been stationed at many different posts in my career, and I don’t know if it’s because we are here in central Texas and the community is effected by the deployment rotations, but they will do just about anything for the soldiers. They will give you the shirt off their back if you asked them.”

The award winners:

Division Special Troops Battalion: Tonja Britton, Samantha Melville, Melissa Centifanto, Kristen Jackson, Stacey Judson, Jennifer Kuster, Tanya Reaves, Tina Sutton.

1st Brigade Combat Team: Sonja Kammerer, Missy Mahn, Susie Kagel, Daniella Lee.

4th Brigade Combat Team: Charity Poole, Traci Cook, Michelle Ousley, Suzanne Adkins, Tonya Duran, Mariam Torres, Megan Sheehan.

Combat Aviation Brigade: Laura Aguilar.

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