Seniors essential to Shelby

May is Older Americans Month, and we are celebrating our Shelby County older Americans and our senior volunteers at the annual Shelby County Senior Picnic and Retired Senior Volunteer Program Recognition Ceremony at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum.

Our older citizens are the heart and soul of Shelby County. When we take the time to visit with them, we gain the insight and wisdom of their years of experience; their stories become our stories and we create a bond that gives depth to all of our lives.

Their experiences can help our present leaders deal with current issues facing our county. Many times we may think our problems are new, but in reality they are just old problems with a new twist.

We are also honoring the many volunteers who give of themselves to improve the quality of life in our county.

Sheriff Chris Curry once expressed to me how important volunteers are to his department; without them, he would have to divert manpower from more pressing issues.

Presently we are modifying the way county government interfaces with the many volunteer agencies. In the past, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program has focused on volunteer opportunities for senior citizens.

We have recently modified this non-profit board in an effort to coordinate volunteer efforts of people of all ages. The new non-profit corporation, Shelby Volunteers In Service Inc., is sponsoring a meeting this month to match volunteers with those who are in need.

Marvin Copes, the Shelby County RSVP Coordinator, and Shelli Thomason, Shelby County Community Services Coordinator, are to be congratulated for their hard work.

The need for volunteers continues to rise in Shelby County. If you are able, I hope you will consider getting involved with one of the many volunteer opportunities.

I salute our older citizens and our volunteers. I look forward to honoring them at the picnic.