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By Capt. Richard Moore
U.S. Army Central
Michael Clauss, U.S. Army Central Command Historian, received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteer service in a ceremony in Patton Hall at Shaw Air Force Base 31 May, 2023.
In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the President’s Volunteer Service Award, or PVSA. This award recognizes exceptional individual volunteer service that impacts communities across the United States.
“The President’s Volunteer Service Award is an incredible way to recognize community members for their long-term commitment to volunteer service,” said Virginia Cooper, USARCENT Soldier and Family Readiness Program Manager. “It is also important to recognize Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians who, often, don’t realize their volunteer service is so impactful to people’s lives.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest level of the PVSA, recognizes individuals with over 4,000 volunteer service hours. Clauss accumulated over 6,500 hours.
“No organization has unlimited resources,” said Clauss. “Fortunately, there are many amazing volunteers who see and fill that need.”
Clauss’ volunteer service started in 2010 with his dedicated involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. In 2014, he received the “gold” level award for over 1,000 hours of service. Since then, he has served as a Scoutmaster for two troops in the local South Carolina area.
“I choose to focus my volunteerism on youth programs,” said Clauss. “All our young people can positively benefit from good youth programs, and I choose to support Boy Scouts of America. Programs like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, youth sports, and many others seek to help our youth grow in a positive direction.”
Lt. Gen. Patrick Frank, USARCENT Commanding General, hosted the ceremony and presented the award to Clauss. The award included a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States.
“It was a privilege for the command to present the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award to such a devoted volunteer, father, and team member,” said Col. Armando Hernandez, USARCENT spokesman. “His service in the Boy Scouts not only impacts the lives of his scouts, but also shows our peoples’ commitment to the local community.”
Some service members may think volunteering is difficult because of the demands and frequent moves demanded by the military. Clauss, a Department of the Army Civilian and retired Army Sergeant Major, believes volunteering during military service is important.
“I volunteered while serving in the military,” said Clauss. “It helped me better connect with the community where I lived. Military members are sometimes only in a community for a short time before their next move. Volunteering helps immerse them in the community and really become a part of it."
While Clauss appreciates recognition from the highest levels of United States civilian leadership, he doesn’t plan to stop his volunteer service any time soon.
“It’s quite an honor to receive such high recognition, but not the reason I volunteer,” said Clauss. “I volunteer to have a positive impact on the community. For me, there is nothing like watching young people grow, develop, and be recognized for their achievements. I wish everyone could feel it.”
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