By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 16, 2004 1:59 PM
There was no pricey china nor waiters clad in tuxedos at the Volunteer Wayne luncheon. The "RSVP" for the event stood for Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
The volunteers like it that way.
On Thursday, the members of Volunteer Wayne and RSVP gathered at the Dillard Alumni Center in Goldsboro to be honored and have lunch.
Barbara Stiles, volunteer programs' director, noted that the Styrofoam takeout boxes the volunteers were eating from were not used out of any desire to save money. The volunteers had requested the food be served that way.
These volunteer leaders received special recognition Thursday for the work they do in Wayne County's volunteer clearinghouse, Volunteer Wayne, and its heart, the RSVP program for retired and senior volunteers. They are, from left, Evelyn Jefferson, the outgoing president of the organization's advisory council, who received the Spirit Award; Julie Odom of Wayne County Partnership for Children for the Excellence in Volunteer Management Award; Brownie Doss of the WAGES Nutrition Program for the Elderly, and Donna Archer of Wayne Memorial Hospital, who tied for the award for Excellence in Reporting award; Suzanne Tyner of the Wayne County Humane Society for Leadership Excellence, and Mary Hunt of the Mental Health Association of Wayne County for Excellence in Recruitment.
About 40 members of Cub Scout Pack 258 of Rosewood helped load a truck to take supplies to Liberia. They also gathered supplies for help packs, flood buckets and migrant health kits as part of the 2003 Make A Difference Day. Shown, from left, are: Row One, Johnathan Williams, Timothy Taylor and Christopher Lyon; Row Two, Josh Clark, Matt Womack, Austin Hope, Logan Cole-Lyon and David Taylor; Back Row, Cub Master Gregg Womack, Hunter Hinson and Den Leader Cheryl Womack.
At right: Gaspar Gonzales, the advisory council president of Volunteer Wayne, presented a "check" to local government officials showing the amount of money saved through the efforts of volunteers. The check represented this year's almost 33,000 volunteer hours that equaled almost $554,000 in savings of labor costs. Shown from left are Gonzales, Mount Olive town commissioner Paul Smalley, Wayne County Commissioner Atlas Price, Bob Waller of the Goldsboro City Council and Evelyn Jefferson, the outgoing advisory council president.
The reason: A lot of the senior citizens who are volunteers can't eat all the food and like to be able to take what they can't eat home.
The highlight of the event was a "check" presented to government leaders in the county for $554,000. This check can't be cashed at the bank, but to many it is worth much more than gold. It represents the amount of money it would cost to pay all of the county's volunteers, who put in a total of nearly 33,000 hours of service last year.
"Just imagine if one day the volunteers didn't show up at the hospital or at the base pharmacy," said Ms. Stiles. "That one hour might change a child's life, or the driver delivering Meals on Wheels could save that person's life."
Ms. Stiles said the event was not to honor one particular volunteer, because they are all important.
But there were some awards presented to volunteer leaders for their work to make the programs a success. They work to make sure that willing volunteers are matched with the agencies needing help. They also strive to make sure the volunteers find the kind of service work they like.
Volunteer Wayne is a volunteer clearinghouse for Wayne County. Its mission is to provide service opportunities to people of all ages by matching their skills, experience and interests with community needs. It is a United Way agency. RSVP provides service opportunities to people over 55.
Dillard Alumni donated the use of its building on Poplar Street for the ceremony, said Evelyn Jefferson, the outgoing president of advisory council to Volunteer Wayne. An estimated 130 people attended.
Volunteer Coordinator Joy Pearce and Bob Waller of the Goldsboro City Council presented the awards to the following people:
*Brownie Doss of the WAGES Nutrition Program for the Elderly and Donna Archer of Wayne Memorial Hospital, who tied for the award for Excellence in Reporting.
*Julie Odom of Wayne County Partnership for Children, who received the Excellence in Volunteer Management.
*Mary Hunt of the Mental Health Association of Wayne County, who received the Excellence in Recruitment.
*Suzanne Tyner of the Wayne County Humane Society, who received the Leadership Excellence Award.
*Evelyn Jefferson, the outgoing president of advisory council, who received the Spirit Award.
A national award was presented to the Cub Scout Troop 258, which buys the supplies and helps the MERCI disaster recovery organization put together kits to send to disaster victims. The troop will be honored in the USA Weekend section in Sunday's News-Argus for its work on Make A Difference Day.
Certificates of appreciation went to the community partners, including the Corporation for National Service, the Goldsboro News-Argus, Parker Advertising, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Time Warner Co., the United Way of Wayne County, Wayne Community College, Wayne County Association of Volunteer Administration and the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.
Gaspar Gonzales, the new advisory council president, presented the "check" to local government officials.
The Wayne County commissioners and Gov. Mike Easley had proclamations read during the ceremony.
Commissioner Atlas Price asked the volunteers if they realized how important their work is. He asked if they ever wondered what those people would do without their help.
"There are people who would not have the service delivered if it weren't for you," he told them. "You're important. ... That importance reaches a lot of people."
He told them it's an honor for him to be with them and to represent them. He read the proclamation naming April 19 through 26 "National Volunteer Week" in Wayne County.
The keynote speaker was Alicia Hartsfield of the state's office of the AmeriCorps Senior Program. She read the proclamation from Gov. Easley. In the letter he thanked the volunteers of Wayne County for what they do. He proclaimed Tuesday, April 20, as "National Service Day" in North Carolina.
Ms. Hartsfield told the volunteers she knows they don't do what they do for the recognition, but it's still important to "have events like this to celebrate you."
She said the governor conducted a survey recently and found that more than half of the people in the state who are over 18 volunteer. That's about 3.5 million people, she said. They donate 55.7 million hours each month and provide work valued at $890 million.
"I honor you for your service to your community," she said. "You set a wonderful example for all North Carolinians."
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