Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Vital Volunteer

Last night at the Renton Senior Activity Center it was crowded and filled with vital, giving souls.

The heart of any city is it's people - and if they choose to share of themselves with others, to help more than just themselves to thrive, then that city becomes a true home to many. Renton is lucky in it's citizenry - they volunteer in the stewardship of our town with their time, experience and wealth of ability.
I have never lived anywhere that hosted an Annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet. This is the second year that I have had the honor of attending. The MC was fellow blogger and Council President, Randy Corman. The factoids he delivered concerning the volunteerism in 2008 for Renton was mind expanding. Over 5,000 individuals, logging in close to 65,ooo hours at a total savings to the city of 1.3 million dollars in wages. Wow. The most salient point he made was that most of these "jobs" could never be filled by regular workforce - years of experience is required for some posts and others have people "on call" all the time.

There were those that have volunteered for so many years, that the number eludes them - like Ron Regis (yes, the guy the park is named after) . He volunteers for - you got it, the Parks Dept. and has for over 40 years.

Joe, who sat at my table has been the go-to man for the Baccy Ball Court at the Center for the last 19 years. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morn at 9:30 am - weather permitting.
John Springer met Linda Woo (pictured directly above) after he left years of washing dishes at the Center, and got front and center on the dance floor and met his love, Linda. He now volunteers at the Piazza during the Farmer's Market, and hasn't stopped dancing since.

Shirley Phinney brought along her daughter, Debbie to enjoy the night. Shirley has been working for the Renton Historical Museum for years. No telling the number - Shirley just doesn't know and it doesn't really matter. She just enjoys going and that is all that really counts. Shirley embodies the city's new call for assistance through Volunteering - Now More Than Ever! without even being asked.

Larry Sleeth and Don Persson are often to be found in the kitchen at these events, hustling up the food and doing all the catering. Larry worked for the city for years and is on the board with the museum. It is just a natural for him.

The evening had some lovely moments. It was made all the better by a really good performance by the Lindbergh High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble. There was a little Latin flavor in their song selection and a lot of heart in their delivery.

If you want to donate any amount of time - be it one afternoon handing out fliers to finding a more regular niche for your abilities, you can go the City of Renton's website, scroll down to the heading of Volunteers and a whole list of opportunities will present themselves, from ham radio, to the library, Renton River Days, etc.
Randy Corman , Master of Ceremonies and Rich Zwicker, Volnteer Server

When looking across the room, I saw many seniors who have been active for longer than they have raised their kids. The city can always use an infusion of new blood. If those volunteers say anything to me, it's that they were raised with the notion that to give is to receive. I hope future generations will represent as well as they have.


Anonymous said...

Was this just for people who volunteer for the City of Renton vs. just volunteering in Renton? I volunteer with 3 of the programs on the community opportunity page ( and I'd never heard of this event.

Lady P said...

I can't say for sure - I volunteer at the Renton Historical Museum and they are always really good about letting us know about any and all events. The placard at my seat at the banquest had "City of Renton" on it as well as the internet address. Sorry to hear that you missed it...

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