The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program has named Reta Brack as Volunteer of the Year, and also recognized the Great Bend Military Moms project as RSVP Volunteer Station of 2012, said RSVP Director Donna Baugh.
A Great Bend resident, Brack volunteers at the American Red Cross Bloodmobile, Barton County Historical Society, Barton Community Food Bank, First Christian Church and the Shafer Memorial Gallery at Barton Community College, Baugh said. She has also served on the RSVP Advisory Council since 2003 and assists with all the RSVP fundraisers. “She is always willing to help wherever there is a need.”
One project that Bracke worked on this year was the Memorial Flower Sale which funded, which funded the 35th RSVP Volunteer Recognition Banquet where she received her award, Sept. 7 at Barton Community College.
“Over 150 volunteers were treated to a delicious meal prepared by Tracey Wagner with Great Western Dining,” Baugh said. “Special awards were made to Jean Cavanaugh for 20 years of service on the RSVP Advisory Council and to Eric Peters , who received the United Way ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes’ Award for his volunteer service to RSVP despite being too young to be a member.”
Leslie Halbower Barrett was on hand to accept the award presented to the Great Bend Military Moms, a project she spearheaded in November, 2003. Her son had just been deployed to South Korea for a year and her friend’s son had just been sent to Iraq. The two friends decided to send gift boxes to their sons with familiar things from home to show they were missed at Christmas. The word spread and other names were added to the mailing list. As the list grew, people and businesses all over central Kansas began to donate items or money to purchase items for the gift boxes. In the almost nine years since those initial Christmas boxes to family, the Military Moms project has shipped close to 5,000 care packages to military men and women serving in war zones all over the world. The Great Bend Military Moms is a project of the American Legion Argonne Post 180; it is funded 100 percent by donations and is run completely by volunteers.
“RSVP is very pleased to honor Leslie Halbower Barrett and the Great Bend Military Moms project as 2012 Volunteer Station of the Year and Reta Brack as 2012 Volunteer of the Year,” Baugh said. “ Both are outstanding examples of selfless volunteer service.”
This year there were nine nominees for RSVP 2012 Volunteer of the Year and the selection was made by a committee of community representatives from Great Bend, Ellinwood and Hoisington. Others nominated were: Richard and Kathy Ahlvers, Great Bend; Donna Donavon, Hoisington; Walter Erlich, Great Bend; Bob and Evelyn Essmiller, Great Bend; Maxine Rogers, Great Bend; Lylas Schultz, Ellinwood; Shirley Smith, Great Bend; and Mary Lou Warren, Minneola.
RSVP of Central Kansas is a volunteer clearinghouse for individuals aged 55 and older living in Barton and Pawnee Counties. There are volunteer opportunities to suit just about any particular talent on interest, Baugh said. For more information, call 620-792-1614 or come by the RSVP office, 1025 Main #D114, Great Bend.