AUSA volunteer makes local military community better

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Story by Ruth Kingsland on 06/30/2017
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Those who know her can't say enough good about this military spouse, mom, employee and active volunteer.

Kelly Colter a volunteer and dual board member with Association of the United States Army's Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter in Tacoma and its subchapter in Lacey, Olympic View Elementary School in Lacey and various other local community organizations is Joint Base Lewis-McChord's June Volunteer of the Month.

Each month, JBLM honors one of the hundreds of people who help make the community better through volunteering at the installation's more than 300 nonprofit organizations.

Amy Tiemeyer, president of AUSA's Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter, put Colter's name in for the JBLM award.

"There's not enough awards for volunteers like Kelly," she said.

Tiemeyer has known Colter for the past couple years. She said she's amazed by Colter's enthusiasm, spirit and abilities.

"She is amazing; she jumps in and takes on tasks and rolls with it," Tiemeyer said. "Her skill set is so amazing; she's super organized and amazing to work with. You have volunteers who are wonderful just because they volunteer, but Kelly is a step above. She just processes and implements plans that completely improve whatever she is working on."

Colter's husband, Sgt. 1st Class David Colter, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps, will move at the end of the summer to her native Kansas. Despite losing Kelly Colter's volunteerism, the local AUSA chapters will be better for having had her volunteering the past few years, Tiemeyer said.

"The next person who takes her place will have it much easier because of all Kelly has done," Tiemeyer said. "When she leaves, the chapter will be so much better than when she came, and we will be implementing the changes she has made for many years to come."

Colter said she was surprised and pleased to receive the JBLM Volunteer of the Month distinction.

"There are just so many people on the installation who deserve this more than me," she said.

Colter grew up in southeast Kansas and graduated from Chanute High School in Chanute, Kan. As a youth, she was active in 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America.

Her family had a cattle farm, and Colter paid her way through college by helping to raise cattle. She earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.

She and her husband met 17 years ago while he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kan. The two became best friends and eventually started looking at each other differently, she said.

The couple later married and had two sons: Rylan, 6, a kindergarten student at Olympic View Elementary School, and 10-month-old Trayson. The family has been at JBLM for the past five years.

Colter previously worked nine years in human resources and currently is a stay-at-home mom, in addition to working part time for her friend, Stephanie Prosser's Olympia business, Integrity Real Estate Investor's Construction.

Prosser said she couldn't ask for a better employee, and she also appreciates her friend's aptitude and attitude in volunteerism.

"Kelly is a really hard worker, and she sits on so many boards," Prosser said. "There's no way to replace her in all she does; she does everything."

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