Since Sgt. Steve Lornitzo started volunteering at Fort Gordon's Woodworth Library, interim librarian Susie Joyner has seen a dramatic change in the place.
"We have been woefully understaffed for two years," she said. "Steve's become one of the staff."
During his five months as a volunteer, he has worked on many projects, she said.
"Some of the projects are 10 to 15 years overdue," she said.
Sgt. Lornitzo, who is being treated at Fort Gordon, has been at the library since the second week of March.
As a member of the 2nd Battalion of the 172nd Armor Regiment of the Vermont National Guard, he was injured Feb. 8 when he fell from a guard tower on the northern border of Kuwait.
He suffered two broken ribs, a damaged spleen, a broken collarbone and fractured skull, resulting in some facial paralysis.
Sgt. Lornitzo eagerly accepted the opportunity to work in the library not long after arriving at Fort Gordon.
"I feel at home in the library," said Sgt. Lornitzo, who also is working on his master's degree. He is studying ancient astronomy and mythology, along with the history of science and technology.
Major projects that Sgt. Lornitzo has worked on include sorting through the library's catalog and its collections. He helped improve the use of the space by restacking all of the children's books and utilizing closet space in that room, Ms. Joyner said. The children's books are contained in a small room.
"We are always trying to suck all the space out that we can," Ms. Joyner said.
During the summer reading program, he volunteered by reading to the children.
"We had a lot of regular children every week," he said.
Also, Sgt. Lornitzo helped clean the library and get rid of items that were no longer needed. He also assisted with framing posters.
Ms. Joyner said he has been dedicated to his tasks.
"He comes in even when he's not scheduled to," she said.
The sergeant doesn't know how much longer he will be at Fort Gordon. He could leave within the next two weeks, or it could take months, depending on when his paperwork is processed, he said.
Ms. Joyner said the library staff will hate to see him leave.
"He's become a good friend and a good person to work with," she said.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.