Army volunteer in Zama hopes to create positive ripple effect across community

Terry Owens, right, a former Soldier and spouse of a U.S. Army Japan civilian, poses for a photo with Etsuko Kanai, center, who was honored at a luncheon in support of Women's History Month at Camp Zama, Japan, March 22, 2022. Owens, who helped organize the luncheon, regularly volunteers in the local community and believes even the smallest selfless acts can help create a more positive environment. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)
Terry Owens, right, a former Soldier and spouse of a U.S. Army Japan civilian, poses for a photo with Etsuko Kanai, center, who was honored at a luncheon in support of Women's History Month at Camp Zama, Japan, March 22, 2022. Owens, who helped organize the luncheon, regularly volunteers in the local community and believes even the smallest selfless acts can help create a more positive environment. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

Army volunteer in Zama hopes to create positive ripple effect across community

by Sean Kimmons
U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs

CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- Whether it’s teaching English, helping newcomers or baking hundreds of cookies to share, Terry Owens enjoys any opportunity to volunteer in the local community.

Owens, a former Soldier and spouse of a U.S. Army Japan civilian, typically lends a hand to several efforts by the Army Community Service here.

She regularly assists with the newcomer orientations, providing a friendly face and answering questions from people who may be overwhelmed after moving overseas.

“Camp Zama is such a small community and I think that we all kind of have to stand up and do our part,” she said. “I feel like the true joy is [found] in giving.”

As part of Volunteer Appreciation Week, observed this year April 17 through 23, the Army is currently highlighting those who selflessly take the time to make a difference in the lives of others.

The Army often relies on volunteers to keep services and programs running smoothly. In fiscal 2020, for instance, volunteers contributed more than 109,000 hours for the Army, which were valued at about $3 million in cost savings, according to Army installation officials.

The Camp Zama ACS normally has eight volunteers, including Owens, who assist with special projects, programming and events on an ongoing basis, said Jennifer Partridge, its director.

“Volunteers are needed to support an array of community activities, particularly in an overseas environment,” Partridge said. “Community-based organizations and activities that support the quality of life of our Soldiers, civilians and family members cannot function without the support of volunteers.”

Partridge said that Owens brings a “welcoming personality” when she meets newly assigned personnel at the newcomer orientations.

“She has a vast knowledge of the community activities and has immersed [herself] in the Japanese culture and can provide insight on activities off post,” Partridge said. “As a former military member herself, she can also relate to the experiences of the active-duty personnel who are stationed in an overseas environment.”

Partridge added that volunteerism is a win-win for both the volunteer and organization, since it can create a social connection and provide valuable experiences for those involved.

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