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BY: Public Affairs Office

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – The cold did not stop the Fort Leonard Wood community from coming together to take on projects and volunteer around post for Make a Difference Day on Saturday.

Approximately 2,257 volunteers spent the annual “day of community service” completing various projects such as raking leaves, laying mulch and repairing school playgrounds.

Volunteers with the 31st Engineer Battalion work on cleaning up the post cemetery Saturday during Make a Difference Day events on Fort Leonard Wood and in the surrounding communities.

According to Stacy Timmons, an Army Community Service volunteer who helped coordinate the event, roughly 4,500 volunteer hours were committed to Fort Leonard Wood.

Not only did volunteers serve the installation, but many from Fort Leonard Wood also served the surrounding communities.

Michele Piccione-Leone volunteered at the Waynesville Animal Shelter with her U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood co-workers and their Family members to help clean and paint the front office.

“I am very passionate about volunteering to give back to the community in which we live and to those organizations that serve the military and their families,” Piccione-Leone said.  “It is important to show gratitude for their service.”

Rhonda Hutsell, Army Volunteer Corps coordinator, said project proposals were submitted from various community organizations around the area and the volunteer groups picked from the available projects.

Timmons said she was impressed with volunteer efforts around the community and  noted that installation officials took the time to honor the  numerous volunteers.

“I thought it was really nice for them, taking the time to thank all the volunteers for helping,” Timmons said. “We let them know that they are appreciated and sometimes that can get lost.”