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LANL cheers on local volunteers

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By Roger Snodgrass

If a normal work year amounts to 2,080 hours at 40 hours a week, how did Los Alamos National Laboratory “top volunteer” Eric Holmes rack up 1,637 volunteer hours last year?

“Twenty-four hours a day on weekends and eight hours at night,” he said,

Holmes and his wife Maryann volunteer as campground hosts for the Forest Service in the Jemez National Recreation Area.

To hear them talk about it, the great experiences they have had and the wonderful people they have met, one might think it wasn’t that great a sacrifice.

Holmes exemplifies one of the themes at the Los Alamos National Laboratory volunteer event “Tuesday morning at Fuller Lodge. The slogan was “Making the Difference,” but the theme was “paying it forward.”

In a keynote speech, LANL Executive Director Rich Marquez, talked about the concept of “paying it forward,” as more than a novel or movie, but as something real and meaningful.

“No matter what you do and how much time you contribute, the dividend is repaid over and over again,” he said, speaking of his own experience.

At least a couple hundred people representing 146 non-profit organizations turned out to applaud each other and receive an extra dividend from laboratory manager, Los Alamos National Security. LANS contributes extra dollars to support the efforts of laboratory volunteers.

The program is one of the community giving initiatives the laboratory kept going through the efforts of the staff at the LANL Community Programs Office, directed by Kurt Steinhaus.

“Top Retiree,” volunteer, Sally Wilkens recorded 1,040 hours, exactly half a year’s work, including her responsibilities coordinating the volunteer program and serving on the design review committee for a new shelter under construction.

Also given special recognition was the Los Alamos Retired Senior Organization, for whom 40 LANL retirees volunteered 10,496 hours to fellowship and service on behalf of retirees and senior citizens of the community. The organization received an extra $7,400 check for the hours devoted by its volunteers.

Altogether, LANS contributed $80,351 for the 131,572 hours volunteered by 896 employees and retirees in 2008.