MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
National Volunteer Week is an annual appreciation week which recognizes and thanks volunteers who gave their time to support their local communities. National Volunteer Week has been in practice in the United States since 1974 and was adopted by Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) in 2014. MCBQ volunteers who document all their hours and meet certain requirements are eligible to earn a Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). The PVSA was started by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in 2003, to recognize the important role volunteers play in showing America’s strength and national identity. The PVSA has four different award levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and the Lifetime Achievement Award. Each level requires a certain number of volunteer hours and is broken down by age group.
MCBQ held an awards ceremony to recognize volunteers who met the requirements for a PVSA, as well as others who contributed volunteer hours this year. During 2021, Quantico’s Volunteer Program had 109 active volunteers who gave 3,562 hours to 65 different organizations both on and off base.
“This is what we [Marine Corps Base Quantico] are about,” said Col. Michael Brooks, the base commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico. “We have 25 people from all over base who have put their time and effort off duty to make a difference in their local community.”
Although not all awardees were able to be present at the event, 34 were recognized for their volunteer commitment. Nine volunteers were awarded a certificate of appreciation, 21 were awarded the Bronze PVSA, two were awarded the Silver PVSA, one was awarded the Gold PVSA, and one was awarded the Gold PVSA and the Lifetime Achievement Award PVSA. The certificates of appreciation were given to those who did not reach the minimum 100 hours for the Bronze PVSA, but still completed a significant number of volunteer hours. The Bronze PVSA is awarded to those who completed 100 to 174 hours for volunteers ages 16 to 25, and 100 to 249 for volunteers 26 and up. A total of 2,498 volunteer hours were documented between the 21 Bronze PVSA award recipients. To be eligible for the Silver PVSA, volunteers need to document 250 to 499 hours for the 26 and up age group, and for the Gold PVSA, volunteers need 500 plus hours for the 16 and up age group. The two Silver PVSA award recipients and the two Gold PVSA award recipients documented a combined total of 1,944 volunteer hours.
The highest volunteer achievement award is the Lifetime Achievement Award PVSA, which is given to volunteers who document over 4,000 plus hours, no matter the age group. Doug Whitwood earned a Gold PVSA for documenting 703 hours with the Quantico Volunteer Program. Whitwood also documented over 4,100 hours with the Red Cross in the last year, earning him the Lifetime Achievement Award PVSA and a personal letter from the President of the United States.
“This is what you do when you retire,” remarked Whitwood. “Doing this is something I can do to serve others…even though it’s not a lot for a man my age, it’s enough to make a difference.”
The Quantico Volunteer Program provides individuals with opportunities to volunteer their time and talents with the Marine Corps community. Those seeking volunteer opportunities or would like to learn more about Quantico’s Volunteer Program can call 703-784-2687 or visit https://www.quantico.marines.mil/Resources/Volunteer-Program/ for more information.