RSVP Volunteers Recognized at Annual Dinner


Harold Mellen, second to right, receives his award; he is pictured with wife Carrie Mellen and family members Henry Farr and Tanner Farr.

Bone Builders volunteers were recognized recently with the RSVP Program of Impact Award. Pictured from left in the first row are Ruby Ball, Janet Formey, Judy Hayes, Claudia Jensen, Sherry Menninger, Phyllis Petersen, Bev Thorpe and Fran Selover. In the second row from left are Mary Murray, Betty Enders, Nancy Landers, Pat Harrig and Lois Parsons. In the third row from left are Christine Crandall, Linda McDonald, Josie Howlett, Wynn Shaul and Jane Trimmingham.

(Madison County, NY – May 2012) The RSVP Volunteer Program held its 2012 Volunteer Appreciation Banquet May 16; more than 200 volunteers and friends attended to recognize the work of RSVP’s volunteers and celebrate Senior Corps Week along with more than 300,000 volunteers nationwide. Last year, RSVP had 675 active volunteers who provided more than 70,000 hours at 50 Madison County non-profit agencies.

Volunteer Presidential Lifetime and Gold Service Awards were presented by Sen. David J. Valesky (D – Oneida) and Assemblyman William Magee (D – Nelson). The President’s Volunteer Service Awards are issued on behalf of the President of the United States to recognize the best in the American spirit and to encourage all Americans to improve their communities through volunteer service and civic participation.

Lifetime Service Awards go to volunteers who have served more than 4,000 hours overall. For 2011, Lifetime Service awards were bestowed on Harold Mellen, Louise Thompson and Rosemary Conant.

Mellen, also known as Mr. Volunteer in Oneida, was recognized for his service to PAC 99, as an instructor with the AARP Driving Program, and as a literacy tutor. Thompson has been volunteering at the Oneida Healthcare Center since 1984. It’s been said that she is a shining example of what a volunteer can accomplish.

Conant has volunteered at the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum since 1992 in the clerical area.

President’s Gold Awards are given to volunteers who serve more than 500 hours in a year. For 2011, there were 16 Gold Awards presented. Bruce Burke (PAC 99), Barbara Cukierski (Oneida Healthcare Center), Leland Fanning (medical transportation driver-OFA), Barbara Schwitter (Sullivan Food Cupboard), David Green, Jr. (OFA SNACK Program), Gerri Reed (OFA SNACK Program), Gregory Phillips (American Red Cross), Joan DiChristina (Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum), Yvonne Alexander (Opportunity Shop), Marianne Simberg (Victims of Violence), Stephen Burrell (Community Resources for Independent Seniors-Cazenovia Area Transportation), Robert Fegan (CAVAC), Daniel Hudson (CAVAC), Gene Smith (CAVAC), Gladys Romoli (OFA SNACK program).

In his awards letter, President Barack Obama acknowledges volunteers who “seize duties gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit than giving our all to a difficult task.”

Bone Builder Volunteers Recognized at Annual Banquet

Karen Brayton, constituent liaison from Rep. Bill Owens office recognized eight volunteers over 90 years old who are still actively involved in our community by volunteering.

“Your theme for this banquet, ‘Focus on Fitness,’ is apt, since a growing body of research points to the mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression and fewer physical limitations,” Brayton said.

This year the program of impact award went to RSVP’s Bone Builder exercise group volunteers

Bone Builders is an exercise program that helps strengthen bones and muscles, strengthens balance and promotes general fitness; weekly Bone Builders exercise sessions, led by volunteers, encourage individuals to be proactive in maintaining and improving health.

The award was presented by Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John M. Becker (R – Sullivan).

“It is the talents, time, knowledge and enthusiasm of the Bone Builders volunteers that keeps the community exercise groups going and growing,” Becker said. “That is why we are honoring them tonight. These RSVP volunteers are helping Madison County residents stay healthy, strong and independent.”

RSVP Volunteers of Madison County matches adults 55 and over with Madison County non-profit agencies in need of volunteers to address critical community needs. For more information about the Bone Builders program or RSVP Volunteers of Madison County, call (315) 684-3001 or go to

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