As a family readiness support assistant at Fort Bragg, N.C., she was in constant contact with the OH chapter in that state. She sent families there for support. She sent volunteers to work at the local events. She made dear friends in the OH chapter headquarters.
When she moved just one state south and began doing the same job for families at bases there, she quickly realized that her job was a lot harder for one reason: there was no Operation Homefront chapter in South Carolina.
So, Sharon did something about it. She started a chapter, or better said, the intensive process to be recognized as an official Operation Homefront chapter. Now, Sharon helps military families as both an employee of the government and as a volunteer with the South Carolina Operation Homefront Volunteer Community Team. Through her leadership and dedication the team is well on its way to becoming an official chapter.
At their first toy drive in 2010, the South Carolina team collected 70,000 toys. Every single child on Fort Jackson was given a Christmas toy.
“That was one of those, ‘I can’t believe I’m getting paid for doing this’,” Sharon said. “It’s very rewarding.”
Volunteers for Operation Homefront have a rare opportunity to actually see the smiles their hard work brings.
Amy Palmer, Operation Homefront Chief Operation Officer, said most volunteers at Operation Homefront get the chance to work directly with the families they serve.
“So often volunteers are stuck in an office doing paperwork or making calls but our volunteers get to see the change and the improvements they make to people’s lives,” she said.
At the volunteer community team in Colorado, leader CarolAnn Mountjoy said the organization helps more than just military families. Their work touches the lives of the volunteers as well.
“We meet all sorts of new people who want to volunteer,” CarolAnn said. “There are some in the military and some who’ve never had experience with the military but have a passion for what our troops go through and want to help.
“We’re giving them an outlet to help,” CarolAnn said. “That’s probably the best part.”
Want to volunteer with Operation Homefront? Go to http://www.operationhomefront.net/volunteer.aspx to find the chapter and volunteering opportunities near you.