Volunteers bring quality to people’s lives

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2003

When you are doing what you can to bring joy to other lives, it can add quality years to your own.

On May 29, Bob Hope celebrated his 100th birthday. Perhaps one reason he has lived so long is that he traveled millions of miles to bring laughter and entertainment to our armed forces when they were in harm’s way overseas and during peacetime. He has put his own life in danger many times to fulfill this goal.

On May 30 in Suffolk Christian Church, senior volunteers were honored with a recognition luncheon. At the end of the program, Ross Boone, master of ceremonies asked everyone from 20 to 90 to stand. He then asked each age category to sit beginning from the youngest to the oldest. When he asked individuals from 70 and above to remaining stand, over half of a crowd of 150 people remained.

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These individuals were ready, willing and able volunteers even in their golden years. They didn’t get up in the morning just to sit in reclining chairs and watch the latest movies on TV. Because they thought they were still valuable and qualified to do other things, they didn’t just hang around the house.

They are individuals who are still making themselves useful and saying to the younger generation, &uot;Move over because I’m not finished yet.&uot;

I looked these proud seniors over and said to myself, &uot;I hope that I will be as spry and active as they are if I am blessed enough to reach their ages.&uot; Out of this crowd I don’t think I even spotted anyone with walking devices. And if I had, so what as long as they were getting their particular volunteer jobs done.

Last Saturday’s rain didn’t keep people away from the annual &uot;Whacky Saturday&uot; event, and Dot Dalton gives a lot of credit to Jack Neild for coming up with a solution on how to distribute food for &uot;Operation Blessing&uot; and free lunches in case of heavy downpours.

These volunteers, along with the members of &uot;IMPACT Suffolk,&uot; did excellent planning in putting this activity together.

When I saw all the food that was distributed, I realized that volunteers had a tremendous job bagging them just so hundreds of people would have food to put on their tables.

Luefras Robinson and I talked about &uot;Operation Blessing&uot; when she returned from her assignment on the food-giveaway Saturday. She said this was a good thing for people who fell between the cracks of needing food and couldn’t get it with stamps because they made too much money.

Dalton said this year had the best group of volunteers and food selection. Over 130 different people from 30 different churches and other organizations volunteered their services.

Dalton also said that one couple that volunteered, including a teacher from Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, knew where some underprivileged families lived on Church Street and went door to door on a couple of streets to deliver bags of food. According to Dalton, these families couldn’t believe that this teacher was doing this and were touched by her response. Other food that was left over was given to the Salvation Army, Homeless Shelter, Genieve Shelter and some churches for their soup kitchens.

Dalton said in years past there were not many people who said thank you, but that this year it was totally different. She also said there was a real spirit of gratefulness – from children as well as adults.

Using the letters in the word ‘volunteer,’ I would like to salute those persons young and young at heart:

V-aluable in more ways then words can say,

O-ptimistic and helpful in every way,

L-ending support with a heart-warming smile,

U-nselfishly going the extra mile,

N-otable for all the work you do,

T-rusted because we can count on you,

E-ffective in all you undertake,

E-steemed for the difference that you make,

R-eady to serve in so many ways,

S-pecial and deserving of everyone’s praise!

Together, volunteers are making lives more meaningful and worth living.

Many churches after their Sunday morning services conclude play the postlude &uot;Now the Service Begins.&uot; All volunteers who are serving their fellowman in this way are good examples of what those words mean.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and regular News-Herald columnist.