JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
The McChord Field USO Northwest Shali Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington recently recognized a longtime volunteer for outstanding service Nov. 28.
Wayne Jackson, USO Northwest Shali Center volunteer and retired Army staff sergeant was awarded the USO Northwest Volunteer of the Year Award and a gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for his many hours of volunteer service at the JBLM USO on McChord Field.
Jackson was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year award for completing the most amount of volunteer hours in a year.
He was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing more than 500 hours of volunteer service in a year.
In total Jackson has completed more than 2,000 volunteer hours this year at the Shali Center and more than 6,500 hours in total in his 10 years volunteering here.
"I think everybody should give back, whether it be to the military or homeless,” said Jackson. “My goal is 10,000 volunteer hours. I will do this until I can't do it anymore.”
Jackson said he enjoys volunteering at the USO for the opportunity to work with JBLM service members.
"The most rewarding part of this is to see the smiles on their faces,” said Jackson. “I love seeing them joking around and relaxing."
Because the food and services provided by the USO are free, Jackson said he thinks the help he provides makes a difference.
“This really benefits the lower enlisted,” said Jackson. “Here they can get a free lunch and this provides a place for them to have a short break from work to socialize and eat.”
Andrew Oczkewicz, USO Northwest Shali Center director of operations, said Jackson’s contributions to the USO have been indispensable
"He is my early morning go-to-guy if someone gets sick,” said Oczkewicz. "He never says no and he goes above and beyond what we ask of him.”
Jackson said volunteering for the USO is more fun than it is work.
"I get to joke with Airmen and Soldiers and they enjoy interacting with me," said Jackson. "I've had so many people shake my hand and thank me, it's thrilling. The servicemen and women here appreciate what we do."