Kentucky volunteer honored by NGB

Kentucky National Guard Staff Report

Jennifer Hatfield

Jennifer Hatfield (second from right) is presented with the National Guard Bureau’s Youth Development Volunteer Award in Middlesboro, Ky., Aug. 23, 2015. Maj. Bryan Combs, Family Programs Director (far right) presented Hatfield with the award for her work as the Family Readiness Group leader for Delta Co. !st Battalion, 149th Infantry. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Olivia Burton)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — “Sometimes you do things not looking for someone to say thank you,” said Jennifer Hatfield, Family Readiness Leader for Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry.

But recently, the National Guard Bureau did say thank you to Hatfield, presenting her with the Youth Development Volunteer Award.

Hatfield received the award during the unit’s family day in Middlesboro, Kentucky, Aug. 23.

“If we had more Jennifer Hatfields in the world, the world would be a better place,” said Maj. Bryan Combs, Kentucky’s Family Programs director.

The award is given to those who have positively impacted Guard Family Readiness Groups and key volunteer efforts.

Hatfield has been the FRG leader since 2012 and her leadership skills contributed to the success of two military child events in 2013 and 2014. Her personal community involvement  included Middlesboro Youth League Cheerleading Coach, Coordinator for 5K for Our Hometown Hero’s, Gymnastics Instructor in Middlesboro, and Middlesboro T-Ball. She was instrumental in building and strengthening community relationships that have benefitted both the area and the Kentucky Guard.

“We certainly want to recognize one of our own on both a national and local scale,” said Combs. “The dedication and time that she takes for the 149th Infantry is outstanding, and her support is
through her own accord, her own time, and her own energy.”

“What I can tell you from a state level is we do everything we can to support families so our Soldiers can train, but we can’t do that without people like Jennifer.  The ground roots level is where it’s at. It’s that person like Jennifer that meets face to face, who knows what our soldiers needs are, what the families and kids are going through that makes us strong.”

Combs said she has played a key role in the FRG to build trust and continuity within the unit and family members. A tough task that has been successful for Hatfield and the 1/149th and it all started with her raising her hand to help and recognizing military children.

“I started Month of the Military Child Appreciation Day because there was a need here for our kids here in this area,” she said. “It started out small and it’s grown tremendously over the years.  I do it because I feel our military children need to be involved just as much as the families.  They’re just as important as everyone else.  I couldn’t do it without the help of the guys here in the unit.”

“Sometimes I do feel like no one sees what I do, so receiving this award feels really good.”

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