SIKESTON - We have a lot to learn from the senior
population. They hold a lifetime of wisdom and
countless lessons learned along the way.
The Retired Senior Volunteer Program will pay tribute
to this special group of men and women on Wednesday at
a banquet hosted in their honor.
Planned for 2 p.m. at the Drury Lodge in Cape
Girardeau, the annual event is a way of showing
gratitude to a group of individuals who offer much yet
expect nothing in return.
This year 578 senior citizens who serve communities in
Scott and Cape Girardeau counties will be honored.
Together, they gave more than 80,000 hours of service
this year which Tina McDowell describes as a blessing.
"This celebration is held to demonstrate the
commitment and continuance of an ongoing dedication of
unique individuals, to honor those senior citizens who
are remarkable in every way," said McDowell, RSVP
"They volunteer because they want to and because of
the overwhelming good feeling they get from helping
someone else. I want our RSVP volunteers to leave
Wednesday feeling like they play an important role in
today's society and I want them to know how important
they are to me as administrator of this program. These
senior volunteers make a big difference in this
program and in my life, they give me a new perspective
and outlook on how special our seniors are to us."
Designed for individuals age 55 and older, the RSVP
program began in Scott County in 1973. The project
benefits the community by meeting needs that strained
local budgets cannot afford and making it stronger
through the volunteer program.
Sharing their talents and knowledge in places like
classrooms, hospitals and social security offices,
volunteers' service hours increase every year as
people become more aware of the need for volunteers in
today's society, McDowell said.
Barney and Wanda Miederhoff have been RSVP volunteers
at Missouri Delta Medical Center for the past five
years, something they started simply because they were
told the need was there.
A half a day, one day a week, the couple directs
visitors from admissions to the Intensive Care Unit,
among other things.
"It's self-satisfying," said Miederhoff.
Although time is scarce for some, the Miederhoffs
agree a person can always find time for something he
wants to do.
"There are other times during the week or the day that
you can do the things you need to get done," Mrs.
McDowell stressed volunteers are needed in all areas,
not only to help the business or organization be the
best it can be, but to help the senior citizen realize
the important role he plays in the community.
"Unless you get involved, things just don't get done
and now more than ever people are aware that they need
to volunteer. This year we have had an unusual
increase of people wanting to become volunteers. This
is the time to reach out to America," McDowell said.
"We can learn a lot from seniors citizens and I feel
they are one of the greatest resources and assets to
our county. It's fantastic that we have seniors
volunteering so many hours, especially to report to
the businesses, organizations and other funding
sources how successful our program is. When you see
the many hours given by these special people, you know
you live in a wonderful, caring community," she added.