The volunteer efforts of three employees of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Dr. Tony Reeves, Kerry Van Shura, and Dr. Benedict Capacio, were acknowledged at the Aberdeen Proving Ground annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. The program, which is sponsored by Army Community Service, selects six volunteers of the year, one each from the categories military, civilian, retiree, Family member, youth and organization, and recognizes them for their commitment and service to APG and their local communities.
Selected as retiree volunteer of the year, Dr. Tony Reeves is a senior postdoctoral research fellow in MRICD’s Physiology and Immunology Branch. Having attended Tarleton State University under the ROTC program, Reeves was commissioned as an Ordnance Army Reserve officer in 1993 and served until 2007. In 2009, Reeves donated his time and expertise to three APG-based educational efforts: providing realistic reflex of fire training to Soldiers from the 143rd Ordnance Battalion, teaching hunter education safety classes to local youths through the Abington Isaac Walton League, and assisting in the coordination and execution of the Wounded Warriors program. Reeves dedicated more than 130 hours of volunteer time supporting these programs and was responsible in part or whole for training nearly 1,600 people in the safe handling of firearms. For his selection as retiree volunteer of the year, Reeves received an APG Garrison Certificate of Appreciation, a plaque, and a $200 U.S. savings bond.
Kerry Van Shura, a biological science laboratory technician in the Pharmacology Branch, placed second in the civilian volunteer category for her efforts at spearheading the recycling program at MRICD. Van Shura volunteered 80 hours over a 10-month period, beginning a recycling program for the granulation and re-sale of laboratory plastics. She was soon directing the efforts of 10 volunteers, and she coordinated regularly with an outside company to provide boxes, transportation, and purchase of regrind for reuse in other commercial projects. Her efforts resulted in the recycling of over 2,000 pounds of lab plastic at the institute.
Van Shura also founded the institute Eco-Team. She led all efforts to establish a new aluminum and plastic recycling system for MRICD to better use existing waste removal contracts and save money by sending less waste to landfills. This initiative started small but was so successful that it was rapidly expanded; now 24 sets of recycling bins, are spread across the entire institute. In this effort, Van Shura volunteered 50 hours over a six-month period, and her Eco-Team now consists of 35 volunteers. The recycling system has been incorporated into the MRICD Environmental Management System program. Every month, 20 aluminum- and plastic-filled 50-gallon trash bags are being recycled at no cost to the institute.
Also nominated in the civilian category was Dr. Benedict Capacio, a principal investigator in the Medical Toxicology Branch. Capacio is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, a volunteer arm of the U.S. Coast Guard. As such, Capacio serves with the auxiliary’s Safety Inspection Team and is qualified to do boat safety inspections. For several years, he has donated many hours of personal time over the weekends to perform these safety checks at APG’s Gunpowder Neck Boating Activity, ensuring the safety of the members of the APG community. In the summer of 2009, Capacio inspected over 100 boats.
In addition, for the past two years, Capacio has mentored two local Aberdeen High School Science and Math Academy students through their senior-year Capstone projects. As a mentor to these two young scholars, Capacio spent many hours training them on the use of scientific instruments and the scientific method of thinking. In this way, he helped to broaden their minds and to encourage their scientific endeavors.