The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Herkimer County celebrated 28 years of service to Herkimer County with a volunteer recognition luncheon at the Knights Inn of Little Falls on Monday afternoon.
The recognition luncheon honored 263 volunteers who collectively contributed to 29,000 hours of service at RSVP stations throughout the county.
RSVP volunteers target the communities’ most critical needs, said Lydia Sexton, RSVP program director.
Volunteers can be found working at emergency feeding programs, congregate meal sites, companion outreach programs, after-school tutoring programs, providing insurance coverage counseling and assisting with the daily operations of non-profit organizations.
“This event is a thank you to all the volunteers and highlights those that have served for so many years or a significant amount of hours,” said Sexton. “I have been a member of RSVP for 22 years and in that time the volunteers have been invaluable. The more and more resources shrink the more important it is for RSVP to serve. The communities’ structure of safety is based on volunteers answering the call. Unfortunately, we could run into problems down the road when the need for volunteers is greater.”
Sexton added those interested in volunteering for RSVP must be 55 years of age or older and can visit the website at www.herkimercountyrsvp.org.
Recipient of the Senior Citizen of the Year Award Eileen Tobin, of Thendara, is affiliated with several community organizations in the county and serves as the director of the Old Forge Food Pantry. As pantry director, Tobin is at the site every Tuesday and Thursday. During Thanksgiving time she delivered 12 boxes of food to needy families and she delivered eight boxes at Christmas. Tobin also helps to transport seniors to Inlet every Wednesday for the Resource Center for Independent Living daycare program.
“Right now I have mixed feelings of being proud and humble at the same time because volunteering is something you don’t do to be noticed, but it is nice when it’s acknowledged,” said Tobin.
Barbara Goodson, of Mohawk, was the selected as the recipient for the Outstanding Contribution Award. Goodson provides rides to seniors to appointments or to the hospital for an emergency in the middle of the night if needed. She also helps to get groceries and shovels her neighbors’ driveways in the winter. Goodson has also made an effort to volunteer for the monthly food sign up and distribution program.
When asked how she felt about receiving the award, Goodson said she was overwhelmed. “I didn’t figure I would be getting an award for volunteering. I just did it because it’s something you should do as a Christian. That’s how I was raised. My mother taught our family to live by the golden rule and if you always follow it you cannot fail,” she said.
Page 2 of 2 - The RSVP program is sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the state Office for the Aging and the Valley United Way.