Photo essay: One hundred and thirty-four volunteers

... random shots of who's who at the big party

from Don Norris and the SilverStringers

There are 134 Melrose folks signed up as volunteers at the Milano Senior Center -- but not ALL of them came to the grand soiree held last month in their honor. Most, but not all.

The event is now an annual affair, put on by the Friends of the Aging along with the city senior's bureacracy. This year even Mayor Rob Dolan dropped by to offer his appreciation for all the work these 134 volunteers do. If it weren't for the volunteers, not much would happen at the senior center.

Head of the volunteer project (her official title is Coordinator) is Mary Beth Calnan, who is pretty good at matching new volunteers with jobs that have to be done. And yet, she says, there will always be a need for more and more volunteers -- there is just no limit to what marvelous things can be done by this under-appreciated, non-paid free help.

Actually this article is being written by one of those 134 people, and the photos of all the folks in this article were taken by the same volunteer. The quality of the photos gives you (the reader) a pretty good example of just how talented these loyal 134 volunteers can be.

That's Shirley Rabb, one of the SilverStringers who publish this monthly rag --  the Melrose Mirror -- on the internet. Shirley is both a prolific writer as well as a polished photographer. Handing  Shirley her note of appreciation is Director Jack Beckley. At the right, are (left to right) Rosemary Behrle (a member of the Council on Aging board), Ruth Dost, Ed Rosinski, and Ted Bond, another member of the Council.

At the left is Nina Gibelli, who knits beautiful afghans for raffles; Eileen Olson, who has been chairman of the Council on Aging for many years; And Monique Hardy, who is a lunch volunteer.

At the left are two key people on the editorial board of the SilverStringers, Dr. John Averell and life-long Melrose resident Russ Priestley. At the right are George Nelson Torrey, a council member and constant contributor; and Preston Johnson, who is both a lunch program volunteer and the president of the local AARP chapter.

At the left is visitor Anna Santorelli; in the middle is Elena Sullivan, who volunteers wherever there is a need; and Esther Parsons, a volunteer with the bridge program.

Here we have Mary Young, getting her paper award for volunteering wherever needed -- from Director Jack Beckley, who has held that position for almost two decades, and just became a senior citizen himself. At the right is Fran Cahill, whose smile will brighten any project.

Natalie Thomson wrote for ten years with the 'Stringers, then moved over to the "Looking Ahead" team. She is listed as an editor. In the center is Evelyn Camarot, who helps out every year when it's time for flu shots. At the right is Patty Fay, another in the small army of volunteers, on call.

Ruth Christensen is on the hospitality committee -- a meeter and greeter and an arranger of great table sweets. At the right with Mayor Rob Dolan is Milano custodian Mike McDonough, who is one of the positive voices at the Center.

At the left is Ann Volpe who mans (womans???) the front desk several days a week. In the rear is Ed Rosinski (again), then Frank Callahan of the Friendly Visitor Program, and Monique Hardy (again). In the right photo are Barbara Benardi (in blue) who helps with the bingo program, and Sarah Zaher, who is a newsletter proof-reader (among other things).

Lillian Martin is the "SHINE" program speaker, getting her award from Georgie Lewis. At the right is the versatile Ed Wright, from the "Friends of the Aging" support group.

At the left is Diane Barczykowski of the Friendly Visitor Program, then Gail Lucien, an office volunteer, and Eudaville Langille, who helps with the flu shots program.

Lorraine Hanson is another of flu shots happening, while (at right) Nina DiOrio is an AARP tax aide.

And for some reason, Kathy Bowen was surprised and overcome when honored for her work as "Swedish weaving instructor." At the left is Kathy's guest Paul R. Bragger. There are endless project and fun groups, new ones constantly added whenever there is a need. All are welcome.

And finally, the annual class photo by SilverStringer Don Norris.

July 3, 2008

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