After a year of racking up thousands of volunteer hours in area communities, the annual Retired Senior Volunteer Program recognition banquet Thursday night was a time to give a pat on the back the hundreds of folks who gave of their time.
“Thank you so very much for serving,” said RSVP Director Linn Hogg. “I’m honored to be a part of this organization.”
There was the meal and door prizes, but the highlight of the event was the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year honor to Lylas Schultz and the Volunteer Station of the Year award to the Barton County Historical Society.
The dinner held in the Barton Community College student union drew a crowd of nearly 200 of the RSVP volunteers.
The theme for the evening was “RSVP – Prescription for a Healthy Community.” “If I was a doctor treating our community as a whole, I believe my first job would be to prescribe a healthy dose of volunteerism,” Hogg said.
She was preaching to the choir. Those gathered were among 558 RSVP volunteers who had given 33,562 hours reading to children, delivering meals on wheels, helping with food banks or blood drives, and transporting people to their medical appointments.
“Everyone living in this community should try at least once, twice or more their hand at helping out an organization in town,” she said. “I know you would all agree that it gives us a new perspective on life.”
Volunteering gives glance into the world of those who have not, those who feel sick or those who have no one, Hogg said. “It helps us to appreciate a kind word, or a kind gesture. It also, as one of our Advisory Council members says, helps us to not think just about ourselves.”
To many people, this seems like a small thing. But, she brought up an example of a trip she’d taken to a small town that pulled out all the stops, utilizing volunteers, to showcase the community
“RSVP is exactly that. It is volunteers who are working to keep their community strong, vital and healthy,” she said. RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over.
“You can use the skills and talents you’ve learned over the years, or develop new ones while serving in a variety of volunteer activities within your community,” she said. “Service opportunities are as diverse as the communities in which volunteers serve.”
Mostly it is people helping people. People touching other’s lives and making them better. Sometimes it is not always obvious, but every little gesture matters.
“No matter what the volunteer job, you have been the prescription to this community,” she said. “And RSVP members have helped to touch someone’s life and keep the heartbeat of our community strong.”