PORT HENRY - The Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Essex County does more than provide services to non-profit organizations.
"RSVP is changing the world by one kind act, one decision to help another, at a time," Sister Donna Franklin, director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, said. "I'm overwhelmed by the beauty and graciousness of the organization."
For its work, RSVP was presented with the Caritas Award during its 35th annual volunteer recognition luncheon Oct. 7 in Port Henry.
The award is given annually by Catholic Charities, which sponsors RSVP, to recognize a group or person dedicated to service and justice.
"RSVP is the very definition of the Caritas Award," Franklin said. "The quality and strength of the program is extraordinary. It obviously provides much-needed services and it works for justice by promoting the dignity of senior citizens."
Patsy McCaughin, RSVP director, accepted the award.
"It shows what RSVP is all about - people helping people," McCaughin said. "It's a great testament to all the volunteers in the program over the years."
Joe Provoncha, Essex County clerk, and a member of the RSVP Community Advisory Group, with Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, served as masters of ceremonies at the event that paid tribute to the 472 enrolled volunteers who logged 62,009 hours of service at 95 stations within Essex County in 2008.
Provoncha calculated the economic impact of RSVP's volunteer work to be more than $19 million.
State Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Theresa Sayward also attended, praising RSVP volunteers for their contributions to their communities.
Members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors also attended along with other long-time officials and dignitaries, all lauding the work of RSVP.
Highlighting the event was the presentation of Very Important Volunteer Awards to seven RSVP participants. Cited were Sandra Kudie of Port Henry, Jerry Peeters of Ticonderoga, Jane Rovito of Saranac Lake, William Dolbeck of Ticonderoga, Leah Jaquish of Jay, Betty LaMoria of Moriah and Thomas Wood of Mineville.
A Decade Award was presented to Willsboro Central School in recognition of its 10-year partnership with RSVP.
A Special Award was presented to the Essex County Board of Supervisors for its support to RSVP.
Certificates and gifts were presented to RSVP volunteers Janice Allen of Willsboro, Joan Porter of Ticonderoga, Gladys Hayes of Essex, John Watson of Lake Placid, Barb Brassard and Janet Denney of Port Henry, AnnaBelle Waite of Moriah and Ruth McDonough of Port Henry.
A special gift was presented to Moriah's van driver, Pamela Yakalis.
Volunteers received many door prizes secured by the Community Advisory Group and friends of RSVP.
A dinner was catered by the Essex County Nutrition Program for the Elderly and served to the volunteers by students from Moriah Central School and friends of RSVP.
"RSVP is a community-based program where people help people of all ages through volunteerism, thereby, meeting basic human needs," McCaughin said. "This salute to the volunteers is a small reward for all that they do for their communities. Special thanks to everyone who helped make this day a success."