Volunteers cited at special luncheon

... "The city would be mighty poor without them"

from Jack Beckley, executive director, Melrose Council on Aging

COA Volunteers: A note from COA Director Jack Beckley:

Every May at our Council on Aging Volunteer Appreciation Program and on a regular basis throughout the year I am humbled by the generosity and genuine kindnesses shown by our Council on Aging volunteers. They truly make our senior center one of the best in the state, and certainly one of the most welcoming.

Our newly hired coordinator of volunteers, Mary Beth Calnan, has been working with the volunteers to better provide them with the resources they need to do their jobs and to create a database including volunteers’ jobs, availability and any special skills that they may possess.  

A conservative estimate of the worth of our COA volunteers is compiled yearly for the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. This past year, volunteers contributed 6,155 volunteer hours with an estimated pay equivalent of $58,070.  Some of the jobs that they performed included lobby receptionists, meal site helpers, friendly visitors, program instructors, newsletter workers, COA office helpers, and helpers for special projects such as the annual public flu clinics.

The Council on Aging reaps the rewards of having nearly one hundred volunteers who know, as William Wordsworth once said, “The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”

These photos were a few of those collected during this season's annual Volunteer Luncheon held at Tierney Hall; infortunately the photographers weren't able to get all the names:

Volunteers provide a vital service to the community -- while creating a social atmosphere.

Volunteering at the senior center entails chores from everyday life -- from the mailing crew, to drivers, to contact people, to the organizers who work behind the scenes. At the right, Nancy Sumares (in green) provides transportation while Rosemary Behrle serves on the board.

Even grandchildren take part, while Vinnie Markelionis (center) salutes  veterans of all wars; special guests were the many volunteers in the Melrose Senior Chorus.

Volunteers provided music -- while the new computer crew took a bow; we recognize project leader Roseanne Greene, Neil MacFeeley, Barbara Bernardi, Jim Driscoll and Keely Benson who is the Regional Shine Director.

Guests included Helene Quinn, COA "Friends" president Rita Quinn Dietrich and Lorry Norris. At the right is baritone Len Dalton, one of the founders of the SilverStringers.

The Melrose Senior Chorus adds both charm and beauty to the Volunteer luncheon.

There is always sociability in any senior group, especially in our Melrose Senior Chorus. Some of the long-time members we recognize are Jean Allen and Betty Yaffe (at left) and Millie Vogel at the far right.

That is COA council member George Nelson Torry, chatting with Vinnie Markelionis. At the right is COA Director Jack Beckley, offering applause and thanks to all volunteers.

The chorus provided several talented solists; at the right are Georgie Lewis, Milano Senior Center coordinator, and Tara Deeble, Friendly Visitor program coordinator.

At left is Mary Beth Calnan, coordinator of volunteers; at the right is Starr Demitre, leader of the Senior Chorus, with singers Erna Hooten and Joyce Dalton.

The sociability of the singers is an important feature here -- as shown in their expressions -- while the audience cheered.

It would be hard to include every volunteer in the Melrose system, for the vast majority of its members provide some special service during the year. But those who came to the 2006 luncheon included (front row, l-r} Donna Campbell, Natalie Thomson, Rosemary Behrle, Nina Gibelli, Marie Ryan, Barbara Bernadi, Lucy DeFeo, Phylis Gorman, Betty Yaffe, Ginny McGuire and George Nelson Torrey.

In the back row, l-r, are Shirley Rabb, Ruth Christensen, Marilyn McCormack, Jean Shanklin, Leona MacCaffery, Helen Conway, Rita Quinn Dietrich, John Averell, Ella Letterie, Marie Salamanca, Kay McCarte, Natalie Urban, Eileen Olsen, Helene Quinn, Russ Priestley and Don Norris.

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