Hats off to volunteers: SSSEVA honors volunteers at annual luncheon for donating more than 41,000 hours

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

About 175 retired and senior volunteers in Suffolk and Franklin were honored recently when the Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia (SSSEVA) hosted its 31st Annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at the Suffolk Holiday Inn.

The theme was &uot;Hats Off to the RSVP Volunteers.&uot;

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Lynette Brugeman, mistress of ceremonies, and Lawrence Owes, president of the Board of Directors of Senior Services, presented gifts and awards to volunteers and recognized each for the number of years they have been serving.

Two categories stood out from all of the rest – the youngest volunteer and the oldest volunteer. Maude Mauder, in the 90-age category, won the prize for the oldest volunteer, and Laverne Flythe and Mary Beth Farmer shared the youngest in the 50-age category.

Sarah Walden, coordinator of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Services, said that this year’s theme was most appropriate for 2004 because the wearing of hats has been a tradition for both men and women and signifies love, ingenuity, dignity and commands attention. She also said that hats are considered an accessory with expressions of respect, faith, pride and devotion.

&uot;I would like to think that our volunteers wear many hats demonstrating the love for the work they do as volunteers,&uot; she said. &uot;The hatpin is a small token of appreciation for what you have contributed to the program this year. So please wear it as a conversation pin.&uot;

Entertainment was provided by LaNita Wiggins, sang gospel tunes.

Otha Rountree, the volunteer known for his flamboyant headwear at the Obici Hospital information desk, showed off about 35 hats that he wears on duty. They included a Christmas hat, Cat in the Hat, watermelon hat, pirate hat, Easter hat, raccoon hat, St. Patrick’s Day hat and many others.

&uot;I wear a hat as it coincides with a holiday but I enjoy wearing the ‘Cat In The Hat’ one because it seems to cheer children up,&uot; he said.

Last year SSSEVA’s Suffolk and Franklin volunteers contributed 41,320 hours to nonprofit organizations through RSVP and at $20.02 an hour (2004 average dollar value of volunteer time in Virginia) this translates to $827,226 worth of services for the cities of Suffolk and Franklin.

Also, last year, SSEVA placed 237 Suffolk and Franklin volunteers with positions at 29 stations, performing a multitude of tasks, these individuals worked as literacy volunteers and aides at local libraries; delivered meals to homebound residents, crocheted and knitted baby ware for families assistant by Hampton Roads Navy Relief; worked as receptionists, hospice aides and oncology unit counselors at Obici Hospital, in addition to delivering flowers to patients; and provided assistance to such groups as Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation army, the Suffolk Museum and Riddick’s Folly Museum.

A private, non-profit organization, SSEVA provides services for older citizens in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Franklin, Isle of Wight, Southampton County and Suffolk. It is the largest operating Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in Virginia.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is a federal program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia and United Way. The purpose of RSVP is to provide a satisfying and meaningful volunteer experience to people 55 years of age and over to participate more fully in the life of their communities by donating their talents and skill through volunteer service.

For information on RSVP or other programs, contact Walden at 539-6385.