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NEWS | Jan. 31, 2024

Fort Indiantown Gap Soldier recognized for service beyond the uniform

By 2nd Lt. Kate Kramer

Sgt. 1st Class Paul Almquist was recognized for his volunteer efforts with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region during a ceremony here, Jan. 30, 2024.

Almquist, a range operations noncommissioned officer with the Fort Indiantown Gap Training Center, has served with the program for over eight years, and received a Certificate of Appreciation for his exceptional mentoring efforts. Deborah Wright, director of Lebanon and Lancaster counties, presented the award on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

"Big Brothers Big Sisters has given me more drive to be a better leader and person," Almquist said. "It doesn’t take much to be impactful, just a few hours a month, and you could change someone’s life forever."

Almquist's commitment goes beyond the regular mentoring activities, as he volunteers for the Christmas gift drive for the kids involved in the program.

"I can't tell you, just the look on these kids' faces, they don't always have the greatest home to go to, and they get to have some gifts under their trees," Wright said. "His work means a lot to them."

The children in Big Brothers Big Sisters expressed their gratitude to Almquist by writing heartfelt thank-you cards for the Christmas presents they received. This small yet impactful gesture highlighted the positive influence and connection Almquist has established with the children in the program.

Big Brothers Big Sisters matches children lacking a mentor with individuals who share similar interests. Mentors, like Almquist, provide guidance, take the children on excursions and spend quality time with them, fostering a supportive and caring relationship. Activities range from outings to the park to exploring Fort Indiantown Gap, offering the kids exposure to various experiences and positive role models.