Military Veterans and Family Members Awarded President’s Volunteer Service Awards
AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith and Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) recognized a group of local volunteers for their service to fellow veterans and their communities
WASHINGTON, DC— Eight AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in the RSVP program were presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award by AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith and Rep. Joe Courtney at the Mystic Congregational Church in Mystic, Conn., on Thursday, July 6. The awardees comprised six military veterans, two military family members and one support dog, who received a recognition of service certificate.
Military veterans make up a significant pool of AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers, with nearly 15,000 veterans continuing their service to the country nationwide. In Connecticut, approximately 2,300 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve in more than 300 locations across the state.
“Our country’s strength is built upon remarkable individuals that answer the call to serve,” said Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps. “Among our veterans, a great many continue that service even after leaving the military. We’re proud that each year we serve more than 245,000 military families, and that 15,000 veterans serve as AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers. Today’s group of awardees exemplify that our highest calling as citizens is service.”
Noreen Arao, US Air Force veteran, serves as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer in the RSVP program at Groton Veterans Coffeehouse, where she makes hot breakfasts for visitors and assists with the shopping program.
Carol Coyle, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer and military veteran family member, serves at Mystic and Groton Veteran Coffeehouses. She organizes food, greets visitors and assists with shopping needs.
Walter Keach, US Air Force veteran, has served as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer in the RSVP program for the last two years at Mystic and Ledyard Coffeehouses. Keach helps organize field trips for veteran coffeehouse visitors, like a recent tour of the New England Air Museum, and offers support to veteran and military family visitors to the coffeehouses.
Peter Kulas, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer and military veteran family member, serves at New London Veterans Coffeehouse. He honors his daughter’s service in the US Air Force by shopping for several seniors.
Susan McArdle, US Coast Guard veteran, serves as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer in the RSVP program at Mystic Veterans Coffeehouse. She picks up donated coffee, cleans up meeting spaces and regularly assists community members with shopping needs.
Gary Miller, US Navy veteran, serves as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer in the RSVP program at Stonington, Mystic and Gorton Veterans Coffeehouses. He leads conversations, sets up for events and aids in shopping needs.
Barry Russack, US Navy veteran, has served as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer in the RSVP program for the last two years at the Mystic, New London and Groton Coffeehouses. Along with his dog Rosie, who also was honored with a recognition of service certificate, Russack helps with setup, greeting veterans and family members and combats social isolation in the disabled community at the coffeehouses by offering on-going support and companionship.
Gus Zupka, US Navy veteran, serves as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer in the RSVP program at Norwich Veterans Coffeehouse, where he makes coffee, leads setup for meetings and assists with setting up doctor appointments for visitors of the coffeehouse.
AmeriCorps is committed to assisting military veterans and families. Annually, 15,000 veterans serve with AmeriCorps, aiding more than 245,000 veterans and their families. The programs connect veterans to service and benefits, support wellness and suicide prevention efforts, provide independent living services, reduce veteran homelessness, support recreational and therapeutic activities and more.
Our country—to the great benefit of us all—is made up of remarkable individuals that answer the call to serve.⁰⁰I was honored to join @RepJoeCourtney today to present President’s Volunteer Service Awards to @AmeriCorpsSr volunteers, military veterans and family members. https://t.co/lUnXtlTP6m— Michael D. Smith (@AmeriCorpsCEO) July 6, 2023
Learn more about veteran service with AmeriCorps at AmeriCorps.gov/veterans.