04/27/09 — RSVP honors county volunteers

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RSVP honors county volunteers

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 27, 2009 1:46 PM

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program thanked 40 of its 208 volunteers Friday for their many hours of service with a lunch and music.

State Sen. Don Davis told the group gathered at O'Berry Center there was a 25.6 percent increase in volunteers in the state from 2002 and 2005, and North Carolina is ranked second in the nation by the Points of Light Foundation for volunteerism.

The volunteers across Wayne County have given so many hours this past year that they might as well have written the city and the county a check for $677,856, RSVP director Barbara Stiles said.

"Over the years just imagine how that adds up," Mrs. Stiles said.

And many of the volunteers have racked up hundreds of volunteer hours over the years for the 58 different agencies across the county. Eight Bronze Award winning volunteers have given between 100 and 174 hours. Seventeen Silver Award winners gave 175 to 249 hours. And 42 Gold Award winners have given between 250 and 3,999 hours.

Tree Lifetime Awards were given for 4,000-plus hours of volunteer service. They went to Alma Lewis of Pikeville, the late Dora Perry and the Goldsboro Women's Club.

Mrs. Lewis volunteers at the Senior Center downtown, and Services on Aging director Eryn McAuliffe said she is indispensable.

"Alma is a rock. She's there every day and knows what to do and does it," she said.

Mrs. Lewis serves meals at the Senior Center congregate site and also volunteers for Alzheimer Respite

The other individual Lifetime Award recipient, Mrs. Perry, died in January at the age of 74.

But before she died, Sami Garner of the American Red Cross said, the volunteer was always first in line to go when there was a disaster anywhere. And she didn't mind sacking out on the floor in a sleeping bag during the Hurricane Katrina recovery, either.

"There was not a single thing you could ask her to do that she didn't tackle full-force," Mrs. Garner said. "There's a tremendous hole with her gone. Even in her worst health, she was there doing her job. You never knew she was sick, because she always put others first. She was always about taking care of the other person."

Accepting the award for Mrs. Perry was her sister, Emma Costin of Mount Olive.

"Everybody knew about Dora," her sister said about her take-charge younger sister. "She acted like she was older. She was bossy."

Mrs. Garner said the volunteer would call blood donors and fuss at them for missing their appointments.

"In all her bossy ways, she had such sweetness and kindness," Mrs. Garner said. "She would sit and listen to you all day. She loved the Red Cross better than anything I have ever seen."