Members of the United States Armed Forces have a well-deserved reputation for volunteering their time and skills for the good of their communities and neighbors. And in the closing days of his tenure as President, George H. W. Bush decided to recognize the selfless consideration so many of America’s warfighters display with the establishment of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM).
All members of the military—be they Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard—are eligible for the MOVSM. Because some degree of volunteerism is expected as a matter of course from all Servicemembers, a single instance of volunteer work—no matter how substantial the effort involved or the amount of benefit derived from it—is not enough to warrant the MOVSM. Instead, potential recipients must perform substantial amounts of volunteer service aimed at benefiting the local community; these volunteer efforts must be sustained in nature and directed toward the good of the civilian community. Further, the volunteer work must yield results that are not only tangible, but which bring honor to and reflect favorably on both the military branch of service and the Department of Defense.
Because the volunteering must be sustained, there is no time limit imposed on the amount of work and effort that may be considered when judging whether a candidate deserves to be honored with the MOVSM. On the other hand, Servicemembers who have been engaged in community volunteerism for less than three years or who have yet to log 500 hours of service are generally not considered eligible for the medal.