Community Action Inc. banquet recognizes volunteers

REYNOLDSVILLE — Forty-one years of volunteering were acknowledged as more than just free help at the Senior Corps-RSVP Volunteer recognition luncheon held Wednesday at The Foundry in Reynolsville, as a Punxsutawney woman was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year.

"As we gather today to celebrate 41 years of building friendships and communities, I commend each and every one of you for your volunteer efforts and for making our community a better place to live," said Janeen Love, director of the Community Action Inc. Senior Corps-RSVP Volunteers.

Love said Jean White was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year for her service to the Punxsutawney Area Hospital.

"Jean has been a dedicated and loyal volunteer at the Punxsutawney Area Hospital since May of 2000," she said.

Love said you can find White at the information desk most weekends.

"Her primary duties as hospital aide included working the information desk, assisting people who visit the hospital, escorting patients for surgery and delivering flowers and papers to patients," she said.

Love said White is always willing and ready to help with whatever needs to be done.

Last year, White served 520 hours at the hospital and spent more than 200 hours crocheting more than 100 pairs of mittens and hats for the "Warm Hearts, Warm Hands" project, Love said, adding that the project distributes handmade mittens to every Head Start child in Jefferson, Clarion and Indiana counties.

"Her dedication to her 'job' at the hospital is truly an inspiration to others," Love said.

White said she just likes helping people any way she can at Punxsy Hospital.

"Whether you volunteer for one hour or 1,000 hours, each hour has meaning to the families, individuals and organization you help, and to the Senior Corps-RSVP," she said.

Volunteer of the year nominees included:

• Mary Cribbs — Mary was nominated by Cheryl Moore for her work at the Brockwayville Depot, Love said.

"Mary has been a member of RSVP since 2007; she volunteers at the Depot with the breakfast program, the registration desk at lunch and with greeting cards," Love said.

Love said Cribbs also volunteers at the Red Cross Bloodmobiles and at the Brockway United Methodist Church.

• Arnold Ritchey — Ritchey was nominated by the Jeffer- son County Housing Authority for his volunteer work over the years, Love said.

Ritchey has been a volunteer since May of 2001 in many positions, working with groups such as REACT and Punxsutawney Area Hospital, according to Love.

His current volunteer position is volunteer coordinator for the Jefferson County Housing Authority, and he keeps track of and submits the volunteer hours for all of the volunteers serving at the Jefferson Street High Rise.

Love said Ritchey serves as a floor monitor for the RUOK safety checks, keeps coffee available in the community room and also works in the flower gardens around the building and with seasonal decorations.

• Joe Sikora — Sikora was nominated for his volunteer work in the community and has been a member of RSVP since 2003, Love said.

He delivers home delivered meals for the JCAAA from the Pine Street Senior Center every Tuesday year round.

Love said Sikora spends every Saturday, when most people don't want to volunteer, at the Punxsutawney Area Hospital.

"The Punxsutawney Hospital is grateful for the volunteer work he does to assist the visitors," she said.

He has been an active volunteer and member in the Punxsy Lions Club.

• Gerry Snyder — Gerry was nominated by Cheryl Moore for her volunteer work at the Brockwayville Depot, Love said.

She said Snyder has been a member of RSVP since 2007.

"While at the center, Gerry is the official Tuesday morning breakfast cook," Love said, adding that every Tuesday, Snyder starts at 6:30 a.m. and prepares and serves over 60 meals to the community with the help of her husband.

Love said Gerry also helps with fundraising events, crafts and special activities.

She said in addition, Snyder bakes fresh, homemade cookies weekly for the St. Tobias Church Meals on Wheels program.

• Maxine Youngdahl — Youngdahl was nominated by Cheryl Moore for her community works as well as the volunteer work at the Brockwayville Depot.
Love said Youngdahl spends around 25 hours per week at the center.

She assists with checking in orders, helps prepare lunch, assists with hall rentals and take charge in the absence of the director," Love said.

Youngdahl also volunteers at the Red Cross Bloodmobiles, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Warsaw/Brockway volunteer fire company auxiliaries.

Love said this year, RSVP members volunteered 61,849 hours in Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson counties.

"Those hours, if paid at minimum wage, saved the counties over $448,405 in one year," she said.

"As we embark on a new year and face many new challenges, I want to thank you for your kindness, generosity and your willingness to share," Love said.

She also thanked RSVP members on behalf of Community Action Inc., the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson county commissioners, Senior Corps-RSVP Advisory Council, herself and the communities.

Jim McIntyre, vice chairman of the Jefferson County Commission, said the volunteers are such a benefit to the county.

"What they've given back to the community for what was given to them over the years while they were working is tremendous," McIntyre said, adding that it's just a win/win situation for everyone.

He said another benefit is the amount of money they save for the county as volunteers.

"Some of the services provided by the county might not happen at all if it wasn't for the RSVP volunteers," McIntyre said.

Volunteers honored at the luncheon included:

• 20-year recipients — Lois Pifer, has served for 20 years at the Punxsy Library; and Pat Spencer, has served for 20 years at Punxsutawney Area Hospital.

• 15-year recipients — Phyllis Bair and Rose Marie Cook.

• 10-year recipients — Roberta Dinsmore, Tom Duffey, Charles Hoeh, Stanley Hopkins, Sandy McGuire, Maxine Nava, Aggie Ott, Arnold Ritchey, Donald Shaver and Adeline Shemuha.

• Five-year recipients — Doris Casterwiler, Pat Clark, Mary Cribbs, Janet Donlin, Marlene Fike, Sonia Gess, Irene Keister, Norma Light, Shirley McLaughlin, Tom Ransel, Dorothy Shaffer, Cora Belle Smith, Gerri Snyder, Ralph Snyder and Maxine Youngdahl.

• Platinum Award, for 1,000 hours or more of service went to Maxine Youngdahl with 1,336.50 hours.

• 500 Club, for 500 hours or more: Melva McGranor — 893.5 hours; Georjean Brady — 789.75 hours; Sonia Gess — 701 hours; Jean White — 675 hours; and Aggie Ott — 591.50 hours.