Volunteers recognized at RSVP brunch

Bob and Nancy Barefield, Charlie Varano Rachel Clinkscale and Glenn Niven at the Shelby County RSVP Volunteer Recognition Brunch and Award Ceremony on Dec. 4. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Bob and Nancy Barefield, Charlie Varano Rachel Clinkscale and Glenn Niven at the Shelby County RSVP Volunteer Recognition Brunch and Award Ceremony on Dec. 4. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—More than 300 volunteers were honored at the Shelby County RSVP Volunteer Recognition Brunch and Award Ceremony hosted at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena on Dec. 4.

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program is the country’s largest volunteer group for individuals aged 55 and older. With 87 active volunteer stations, more than 150 volunteer opportunities and 1,171 volunteers, the Shelby County RSVP branch is the largest in the state.

“I want to tell you how much I appreciate you,” Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister said. “You inspire us, you lead us, you are the example that we try and follow.”

Shelby County RSVP volunteers have volunteered more than 2.2 million hours since Jan. 1, 2000, a value of more than $45.6 million, Shelby County RSVP Coordinator Marvin Copes said.

“You have value that cannot be touched,” Copes said to the volunteers gathered at the brunch.

Two-hundred-thirty-two volunteers were given a pin for five years of service, 24 volunteers were recognized for their 10 years of service and Maxine Brewster and Gwen Parsons were honored for their 25 years of service.

Additionally, 82 volunteers were given the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing 500 or more service hours and 15 volunteers were honored with the Lifetime Presidential Volunteer Service Award for 4,000 or more hours.

Nancy Barefiled, Early Cunningham, Marshall Goggins, James Chambliss, Barbara Everling and Durene Herron were nominated for the Spirit Award for “outstanding volunteers that go beyond the normal activities,” Copes said.

Mary Ross was the first-ever recipient of the Star Award for her “many, many years of volunteering,” Copes said.

“(The Star Award) is very becoming for her and for her activities,” Copes said. “If you really get to know Mary, she’s something else.”

The Shelby County RSVP branch has greatly expanded since Copes started working there five years ago, growing from about 450 members and 45 stations to the more than 1,000 member group it is today.

“This is a big thank you,” Copes said of the annual awards brunch. “The county thinks the world of senior citizens.”