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January 23, 2013

Myrtle Beach recognizes Army veteran as volunteer of the year for work with military appreciation days

Since 2008, Bob Hawkins has volunteered with Myrtle Beach’s Military Appreciation Days Committee, coordinating a month of activities aimed around veterans and current service members.

Since 2008, Bob Hawkins has volunteered with Myrtle Beach’s Military Appreciation Days Committee, coordinating a month of activities aimed around veterans and current service members.

Hawkins had recently retired and moved from Indiana when he learned the city was looking for volunteers for the Military Appreciation Days Committee.

As a retired U.S. Army officer, who also worked for the Veterans Home in Indiana before retiring, he said it was important to him to work with both veterans and active military.

“There are so many unmet needs,” Hawkins said. “We do everything we can to support them.”

The city of Myrtle Beach recognized Hawkins as the volunteer of the year Wednesday at the annual volunteer appreciation luncheon, thanking the city’s more than 500 volunteers for the work they do. More than 200 volunteers attended Wednesday’s luncheon, according to city spokesman Mark Kruea.

“This year’s winner is well respected in the community, especially among the many military veterans who make the Grand Strand their home,” Mayor John Rhodes said during the presentation. “As one of the founding members of the Military Appreciation Days Committee, [Hawkins] is a tremendous asset to the city of Myrtle Beach and an inspiration to all.”

Hawkins said he was completely surprised when he was named volunteer of the year.

“Those who know me know I’m seldom at a loss for words,” he said as he accepted his honor. “I think I am now. … I accept this not only on behalf of myself but on behalf of all our veterans.”

Hawkins has been twice-honored for his volunteer work, he said. He has volunteered with the American Red Cross off and on since he was on active duty with the Army, he said.

“I guess I’m blessed. I was honored by [Red Cross] last year as volunteer of the year,” he said.

Rhodes said Hawkins helps recruit and organize the military displays, units nd affiliated organizations for the military appreciation days, including the Memorial Day Parade on Ocean Boulevard.

Hawkins said the parade is one of his favorite activities that take place throughout May to honor military.

For being selected as the volunteer of the year, Hawkins received $500 in addition to the six-in-one hammer/screwdriver all of the volunteers received.

“I can safely say it will be donated to a veterans organization,” Hawkins said.

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