Exceptional Community Volunteer Award Winner
By Lt. Col. Catherine Hutson, Deputy Mission Support Group Commander
/ Published June 03, 2014
HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Lt. Col. Edward Cook, Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, was recently selected as the Exceptional Community Volunteer Award winner for the United Way of Central New York. He was recognized during an Agents of Caring award ceremony, held in the historic Palace Theater April 30, 2014. In addition to receiving the prestigious award, Cook was presented with a copy of a Congressional Record from the Honorable Daniel B. Maffei. Maffei recognized Cook as the recipient of the Exceptional Community Volunteer Award in the House of Representatives.
Cook accepted the award on behalf of the scores of men and women of the 174th Attack Wing who have assisted him in his role as Logistics team lead for the annual Salvation Army Drop Off Day and Christmas Bureau distribution. Since 1998, Cook has worked to improve the Salvation Army Christmas Bureau. He has worked not only to make the process efficient but a better experience for the tens-of-thousands of families served over the last 16 years.
In addition to his major contributions to the Salvation Army, Cook also volunteers as a Foundation Board Vice-Chair with ARISE an organization that serves people with disabilities in our community. Cook serves as the Chair of the Annual Giving Committee and the founding Committee Chair of the annual ARISE and Ride at the Farm -- these events have raised more than $200,000 and have been used to fund the expansion of the therapeutic horse riding program. Recently, Cook became a board member for Food Bank of Central New York.
Cook has not only inspired his family to volunteer but his enthusiasm has spread to the men and women under this command. The Logistics Readiness Squadron puts their military training to good use to lead volunteers, streamline delivery and get the right supplies to the people who need them most. It is a true hometown Air National Guard effort that results in neighbors helping neighbors.
When asked about the importance of the award, Cook stated that he was honored to be recognized and to represent the 174th Attack Wing's contributions to our neighbors. Cook humbly pointed out that, "most people will get involved when afforded the opportunity. I encourage everyone to grab the guy next to them and get them involved. It quickly becomes an integral part of life!"