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Volunteering can lead toward earning a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Sherman
  • 90th Missile Wing executive assistant to the command chief
In order to achieve the whole person concept, we are expected to be involved in our community. Volunteering is a great way to improve someone else's quality of life as well as our own. The concept of a volunteer is one giving up his or her time and efforts for the benefit of others. However there is so much more to being a volunteer than meets the eye. The profound impact we have on our communities is almost immeasurable. We have many volunteers here who are doing a variety of activities to benefit our community, from donating blood to building homes for non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers are selfless individuals who seek nothing more than the gratification of feeling good about what they do. However, most supervisors are unaware that their Airmen's selfless efforts can be rewarded. The Air Force and other military branches recognize the hard work and dedication of those who deliberately reach out to help others. The Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal is a little-known award for members of the United States Armed Forces and their Reserve components, who perform outstanding volunteer community service.

Since this is a unique award, here are some basic facts to help supervisors recognize their Airmen's outstanding contributions to the community they serve. In order to qualify for this award, the servicemember's volunteer service must be to the civilian community -- military family included -- significant in nature with substantial results, reflect favorably on the member's military department, and Department of Defense, and be of a continuous and direct nature.

There is no specific time constraint -- such as volunteering 500 hours over a 24-month span -- to qualify for the MOVSM, as the intent is to recognize an individual for exceptional community support over a period of time, not a single act or achievement. Further, it is intended to honor direct support of community activities. This does not include attending membership meetings or social events of a community service group. It is the overall level of volunteer participation and impact that is key to determining whether the MOVSM is justified. Since the nature of the MOVSM is specifically for volunteer activities completed over a period of time, multiple awards are rarely given in a single tour of duty, however it is possible. Just as with any other award, there is a specific approval process for those who qualify. For more information about submission procedures, make sure you contact your local awards and decorations manager.

The reasons we volunteer may vary, and each of us have our own ideas about what volunteering means. As supervisors, we have an opportunity to recognize exceptional Airmen who are making a contribution to the community. Recognition is a great tool used to increase morale, and maximum effort should be made to meet the personal and professional goals of all our Airmen. Recognizing the contributions of our Airmen will help foster a high-energy and efficient work force. A special thank-you to all who are making a difference in our community!

"Volunteer - not so you can build your resume, but so you can build yourself."