By Maj. Gabriela Thompson

FORT HOOD, Texas – The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government awarded Troopers from 1st Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment the Rising to Excellence award for their volunteerism with the Central Texas Partnership in a virtual ceremony earlier today.

This is the first time the NAVPLG has awarded the Rising to Excellence award to an Army unit.

“There are so many unsung heroes – people who volunteer their time and skills to make their communities better,” said Mary Lynn Perry, President of NAVPLG. “We applaud these programs and the volunteer managers who make them possible.”

Present to receive the award were Staff Sgt. Michael Diehr, Sgt. Marcus Brown, Sgt. Harper Horton and Sgt. Justin Wolfe who dedicated over 100 hours to the environmental stewardship program at Thomas Arnold Elementary School in Salado, Texas, beautifying school grounds and teaching students about gardening.

No strangers to volunteering, the non-commissioned officers and other members from the volunteer team deeply appreciate the privilege to work with their adopted school.

“On behalf of Tiger Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment I would like to thank the Cen-Tex partnership and the folks at Thomas Arnold Elementary for the opportunity to join the communities’ sound practices and to add to the surrounding quality of life,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Diehr.” This was truly a rewarding opportunity to allow the joined communities to flourish.”

Founded in 1997, NAVPLG is an international association of administrators for volunteer programs in local, city, and county government.  NAVPLG encourages professional development and networking among those who manage volunteers in local government.

“I would like to thank the NAVPLG and the Cen-Tex Organization,” said Ltc. Russell Thomas, commander of 1st Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment. “Their values are in line with the direction that the Army is going. I’m proud of these Troopers.”

In 2021, the Fort Hood volunteer community contributed over 43,000 hours – the equivalent of just over $1.2 million – to various volunteer programs on the installation and the surrounding communities.

For more information on how to volunteer at Fort Hood and in the surrounding communities, visit

(From left to right) Sgt. Justin Wolfe, Sgt. Marcus Brown, Sgt. Harper Horton and Staff Sgt. Michael Diehr received the Rising to Excellence award for their volunteerism with the Central Texas Partnership, July 20, 2022. This was the first time an Army unit received the award. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. William Rueckert)