The Fort Hood Red Cross took time to celebrate its volunteers Monday.

In just 10 months, the Fort Hood Red Cross has exceeded the total number of volunteer hours in the previous fiscal year, Mary Basiliere, station manager, said during a volunteer appreciation dinner at the Phantom Warrior Center.

Since July, 234 volunteers have donated 31,483 hours through the on-post Red Cross — helping at the hospital, with the Warrior Transition Brigade, deployments and disasters such as the explosion in West and the Hurricane Sandy. Last year volunteers logged more than 28,000 hours.

“We keep getting even busier and there’s no slowing down in sight,” Basiliere said.

While the recognition is nice, Eric Hall said he volunteers because he enjoys the feeling of helping people.

“I do a lot of teaching, but my calling is in disaster relief,” said the nurse practitioner and military spouse. “You really feel ... the definite impact you have there.”

Kenya Andrews, spouse of a retired service member, was honored as the longest-serving volunteer with 37 years at the Red Cross. She started as a candy striper, bringing cheer to hospital patients, and now teaches health and safety classes.

“I teach everything for four-legged family members to soon-to-be family members,” she said. “I enjoy hearing back from my students that they used the training and how it helped them in an emergency situation.”

Garrison commander Col. Matt Elledge, the guest speaker, said he was honored to show appreciation for the Red Cross volunteers.

“You, the volunteers, you are the game changers,” he said. “You’re the hope that allows people to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and I thank you.”

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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