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PAWTUCKETâ€”While there are those who look forward to retiring and â€śdoing nothing,â€ť there are many who feel like this is the time in their lives to give back. On Friday, the Blackstone Valley Community Action Program held a breakfast to recognize the contributions of the many individuals who participate in its Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
The annual recognition breakfast, held this year at St. Teresa's church hall, paid tribute to the 350 people from the local area who donate their time to various causes at over 40 volunteer sites. Shannon Veader of BVCAP, who is the director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, noted that the RSVP as it is known, is in its 40th year. She said that numerous members of the RSVP are longtime volunteers, including some who have been involved for more than 20 years.
U.S. Congressman David Cicilline and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien spoke at the breakfast about the importance of volunteerism and thanked those who had participated. Cicilline singled out RSVP volunteer Denise Fitzpatrick, and Grebien recognized the several RSVP volunteers who had served in the city during the past year, including Frances Garabedian and Janice Hallal, who helped out at City Hall, and Diane Fagan, Joanne Ramsey and Janice Wilk, who had served on the Environmental Task Force.
BVCAP executive director Vincent Ceglie also spoke of the countless ways that the RSVP volunteers improve the quality of peoples' lives and contribute to the overall betterment of the Blackstone Valley. Without their help, he said, many community services would not be available.
According to BVCAP representatives, through RSVP, seniors age 55 years and older are given the opportunity to use their life experiences and job skills to strengthen their communities through volunteer service. These volunteers donate numerous hours of of service every week to various locations that include food pantries, soup kitchens, hospitals, senior centers and adult health centers. The RSVP program is sponsored by the BVCAP and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Receiving awards for 10 years of service were: Rene Beatty, Roland Duffany, Stephen Dresner, Arthur Eichholz, Denise Fitzpatrick, Delores LaPierre, Anthony Pandolfo, Therese Pawlitschek, Jeanne Plociak, Amelia Sell, Rita Therriault, Kathleen Turgeon and Zinaida Vygoder.
Recognized for five years of service were: Lillianne Depot, William Jensen, Shirley Miller and Janice Wilk; while completion of one year of service was noted for Janet Barry Rogers, Mary Ann O'Hara and Doris Provost.
In addition to enjoying a continental breakfast and raffle, the volunteers were treated to the music of the RSVP Seniors for Jazz Band.