Stan and Ann Fritz with the Brooke Army Medical Center Retiree Activities Group were selected as 2015 Family Volunteers of the Year for volunteering at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center. Photo by Steven Galvan
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
04 MARCH 2016
A retired Army couple was recognized for their volunteer service at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center Intensive Care Unit waiting area by the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. For the past 10-and-a-half years Stan and Ann Fritz have been volunteers with the BAMC Retiree Activities Group and together they have volunteered more than 4,500 hours.
“What an honor and surprise,” said Mr. Fritz. “It’s not about us, but the volunteers who were here before us and those who are still involved. They have set a high standard for the volunteers, so we are grateful to all of them, not just the recognition.”
The Fritz’s are both retired school teachers, the second career for Mr. Fritz who is a retired Army Lt. Col. infantry officer and chose to teach through the military’s Troops to Teacher program. The grateful couple said that they choose to volunteer because not only is it good for their marriage and health, but for personal reasons.
“For me it’s a matter of giving back,” said Mrs. Fritz. “We’ve meet some wonderful people who need our help and we are fortunate enough to help them in their time of need. Bottom line is just helping people.”
“We both feel called to this and we feel that we’re making a difference, but the families that we’ve worked with have made a difference in our lives,” said Mr. Fritz.
The Fritz’s say that they’ll continue to volunteer as long as they have their health and are able to drive from their home in Helotes to the hospital , about a 30 minute drive. Mr. Fritz added that he enjoys volunteering so much that he started volunteering at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in San Antonio a couple of years ago. Mrs. Fritz was also in charge of the BICU volunteers for three-and-a-half years and to said that she got to work with wonderful people willing to give their time for an important mission. They both highly encourage everyone to volunteer where they can because of the personal rewards.
“People often ask us how we could do this and I say that we’ve got the easy job,” Mrs. Fritz said. “The staff works hard to care for the patients and the families, God bless them, have to be strong for their injured loved ones: that’s the hard job.”
Capt. Sabas Salgado, a critical care nurse at the BICU nominated the volunteers for the recognition. Sabas wrote on the nomination form: “As a retired military couple and members of the BAMC Retiree Activities Group, the Fritz family is described as transformational and a gift to the many who have met them. They not only embody what it means to be a great volunteer but they also embody every virtue and character that is a quintessential part of being a great team.”
“What the nomination does not capture is the compassion this family has on the BICU staff and family,” added Sabas.
Mr. Fritz believes that anyone can be a volunteer as long as they are friendly, compassionate, caring and willing to learn from others.
“We were led by some good dedicated people,” said Mr. Fritz. “We learned and grew from them because of their dedication.”
“You don’t get paid monetarily,” added Mrs. Fritz. “But you’re going to get more out of it than you’re going to put into. You’re going to meet some wonderful people and feel loved. You’re going to grow and you’re going to be challenged. It’s definitely a worthwhile experience.”