Slinkies on the tables during the Retired Senior Volunteer Program 's annual awards luncheon served as visual - and fun -reminders that volunteers who "spring into action" are the heart of the communities of the Northern Panhandle.
"Love requires action," Angela Kocher, RSVP executive director for Brooke, Hancock, Ohio and Marshall counties, told the hundreds gathered May 29 at Wheeling Park's White Palace. "I appreciate you coming and thank you for serving your communities."
RSVP volunteers serve at more than 80 schools, social service agencies, libraries, churches and other organizations in the Northern Panhandle. Volunteers help these nonprofit groups by allowing them to put their money toward direct services rather than salaries.
West Virginia Auditor Glen B. Gainer III, far right, presents an award to Maryann Gala. Ruth?Sperry, center, and?Beulah M. Brown also received awards for more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
The awards ceremony focused on three RSVP volunteers who received Lifetime Presidential Service Awards for logging more than 4,000 volunteer hours: Beulah M. Brown,?Maryann Gala and Ruth Sperry. Sonya Metz also was a recipient but was not present. Dignitaries from local, state and federal government bodies each presented the three women with certificates or plaques.
In addition, Louis Golar of Wellsburg received the Donna Weaver Service Award for his work with the After School Adventures Program at the First Presbyterian Church of Wellsburg, where he is a volunteer recruiter, site supervisor and AmeriCorps VISTA supervisor.
Brown, of Follansbee, has logged 6,129 hours of service in the three years she has been with RSVP. Her service includes donating 66 dresses that were sent to children in the Phillipines, Haiti and Native American reservations in Oklahoma, and 99 lap robes for seniors and veterans at Stone?Pear Pavilion in Chester.
- Gold Presidential Award winners (for 500 hours or more of service): Barbara Bartnicki, Anna E. Berardi, Arlie Crow, Laurajean Crow, Virginia Deneen, Catherine DeSantis, Leslie Dight, Regina Jackson, Jane A. Klug, Sally G. Marple, Patricia McCreary, Elizabeth Ann Messerly, Floridea Provenzano, Vicki Tomich, Mark Wagner, Edward J. Wilkerson and Mary Willey
- Silver Presidential Award winners (for 250 to 499 hours of service): Tom Dight, Rocky C. Kilonsky, Mickey Massey, Florence McMurray, Janet Polverini, Lorraine Slezak, Sheila Smith, Geraldine Snodgrass and Hank Vincent
- Bronze Presidential Award winners (for 100 to 249 hours of service): Elwood Beihl, Becky Cogar, Frances Dennison, Mario DiPaolo, JoAnn Freeland, Harold E. Gosney Jr., Karen Hager, David Knuth, Catherine Kompardo-Zeiler, Jim Kowalski, Faye Kutrovac, Helen Moren, Diane Morton, Peggy Nordenger, Donna Phillips, Donna Rolland and Emilia Millie Scaffidi.
- Honored for years of service were: Mae Brady, 25 years; Jeannie Duffy, Mary Janeshek, Grace Lenhart, John Patton, Margaret Porchiran, Delores Proakis, Ed Rochinich, Louise Rocini, Phyllis Troia, Rose Ulizio and George Weigel, all 15 years; Betty Bake, Lee Beckner, Marjorie Burgess, Fred Hart, Gloria Hartman, Sylvia Hornak, Howard Kerr, JoAnn Kerr, Vay Mitchell, Virginia Roseberry, Dino Rossi, Nancy Scott, Louis Serafine, Nancy Tarr, Adda Thornton, Roland Ulizio, Pat Wagoner and Jack Yost, all 10 years; and Rita Angalich, Albert Anglin, Irene Arbogast, Joseph Bechtel, Norma Boni, Kenneth Carey, Violet Corso, LaVaughn Coulter, Ralph Cox, Marie Csontos, Connie Davis, Margaret Dunn, Eleanor Elliott, Anna Evans, Nancy Ferns, Ellen Gareis, Kathy Gill, Elizabeth Harper, Stephanie Heagy, William Kocher, Helen Kohen, Donna Lauck, Deborah Minor, Eileen Mrvos, Sondra Nemeth, Richard Oswald, Robert Paglia, Anna Paige, Ed Powell, Arthur Quattrocchi, Edith Ralston, Kelly Reasbeck, Judith Riggs, Mary Robbins, Karen Santoro, Judy Sargus, Sally Starko, Jackie Stiles, Gerry Taibi, Cathy Torbett, Peg White, Elizabeth Williamson, Mabel Winesburg and Raymond Young, all five years.
Brown is a Follansbee native who has worked at Acme Craft Ware in?Wellsville, painting pottery; and as activities director at Franklin Nursing Center in?Vandalia, Ohio. She also owned her own ceramic shop. She has been married 62 years and has two sons, five granddaughters and 10 great-grandchildren.
She said she volunteers because "that is why we are on the earth, to help other people and do what we can."
Gala, of Wheeling, has 5,001 hours of service since July 18, 2011. Her service includes calling and visiting four community members daily. According to the luncheon program, she volunteers because it helps her forget her own problems.
Sperry, of Weirton, has volunteered 4,362 of hours since 2007. She has helped teach exercise to the youth at the After School Adventures Program, been a receptionist at Greater Weirton Senior Center, helped with bingo and a variety of fundraisers for various entities, including Special Olympics and Easter Seals. She said she loves helping people because it "makes you grow." She has been married 55 years and has two children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Metz has served 4,012 hours since 2007, doing meal preparation for AARP, Kiwanis, Salvation Army, Wellsburg Moose and Special Olympics. She was married for 34 years and has five children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
On hand to honor the women and all the volunteers were a panel of dignitaries that included West Virginia Auditor Glen B. Gainer III; West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; State Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons, D-Ohio; and Lianna Phillips, field representative to U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. Kristin Cross, Gainer's field representative, presented awards on behalf of U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
Christopher McBee, administrator of Brightwood Center and RSVP Advisory?Council member, served as the guest speaker, and the Wheeling Park High School?Jazz Band provided the entertainment, More than $5,000 in door prizes were given away to attendees.