Directors Note: Volunteer Appreciation

by Mark Boutwell, Executive Director

We currently have 51 volunteers active in our AmeriCorps/Respite, Friendly Visitor, Vet to Vet, and Senior Companion programs. Thirteen of our volunteers from these programs attended our Volunteer Recognition Picnic on June 15th. Those who enjoyed the festivities were as follows: Shirley Pinney, Barb Riotte, Walter Stover, Stan Clark, Daniel Tyrell, Reverend Janice Chilek, Betsy Judson, Gordon Best, Dick Pearce, Melissa Mackenzie, Jack Lilly, Elizabeth Cole and Elise Junker. The event was held at the Tree Farm Campground in Springfield.

Each volunteer received a certificate commemorating the number of years they have served and the program they serve. Our longest serving volunteer is Howie Peterson. He has served as a Senior Companion for 11 years.

Senior Solutions staff members who attended the event were Mark Boutwell, Sue Dana, Lori Linter, Thom Simmons, Susan Triplett, Joann Erenhouse, Victoria Alleman, Mary McMillen and Valerie Stuart.



Read the speech

We are here today to express our appreciation for our volunteers. We have 51 volunteers in our Home Visitor, Vet to Vet, Senior Companion, AmeriCorps/Respite and errands programs. We are honoring their dedication and years of service this afternoon with certificates that I will be handing out shortly. 

In an article, The Origins of the Word, “Volunteer” by Benjamin Paley, he writes:

“Volunteering, and the words that go along with volunteering, have a history that informs today’s volunteers of the importance of the work they are doing.

When people think of volunteers, they think of people taking time out of their day to help their community. Merriam-Webster defines a volunteer as, “A person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: such as one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest.”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines volunteering as an, “Offer to do something that you do not have to do, often without having been asked to do it and/or without expecting payment.”

Paley goes on to say, “as can be seen, the noun, “Volunteer,” has a long history of use. I think that the original Latin noun, meaning will or desire, still has meaning even in today’s uses of the word “volunteer.” It is out of the will or desire of the individual volunteering that many of the important community projects and events occur. The history of volunteering in the United States goes back to the founding of the first volunteer fire station by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s.

Since then, volunteers have played an important role in American society. And they still play an important role today.”

What stands out for me in this definition is Mr. Paley’s references to “will” and “desire.” I would add to those references the word “compassion.” On a couple of occasions over the past few months, I have gone along with meals on wheels delivery volunteers. These experiences drove home (pun intended) the meaning of volunteering. These drivers clearly exhibit a will and desire to provide sustenance and social enrichment. And they exercise great compassion. They give of their time and effort and resources to deliver meals in all kinds of weather to needy folks, often way out on the back roads of Vermont.

I know that all of you do the same. You give of your time and resources out of a desire to make other’s lives better and out of compassion. I know that you do this without having been asked and without expecting payment. I know you do this out of loving kindness for your fellow Vermonter. And I thank you. I heard recently; the Dali Lama stated that the core natural instinctive state of the human mind is compassion. You all embody that state of mind every day in the compassion you share with others.

Thank you.

Volunteers and their years of service
  • Howie Peterson – Senior Companion - 11 years
  • Jean Pineo – Senior Companion– 9 years
  • Claire Gilman – Friendly Visitor & Errands– 8 years
  • Dennis Newman – Senior Companion – 7 years (Now AmeriCorps Member)
  • Patti Crimmin-Greenan- Friendly Visitor- 5.5 years
  • Elizabeth Cole– Senior Companion - 5 years
  • Melissa Mackenzie – Friendly Visitor - 5 years
  • Arnie Knowlton – Friendly Visitor & Errands– 5 years
  • Joanne James – Friendly Visitor – 5 years
  • Mike Goldberg – Special Skills - 4.5 years
  • Elaine Pascoal – Friendly Visitor & Errands – 4.5 years
  • Joanne James – Friendly Visitor – 4.5 year
  • Julia Lagrange – Friendly Visitor – 4 years
  • Gordon Best – Vet to Vet – 4 years
  • Walter Stover- Vet to Vet –4 years
  • William Toomey – Vet to Vet - 4 years
  • Teri Heck – Friendly Visitor – 4 years
  • Nancy Pulson – Friendly Visitor – 4 years
  • Chris Ellis – Telephone Reassurance - 3.5 years
  • Joan Turner – Telephone Reassurance – 3.5 years
  • Elise Junker – Friendly Visitor & Errands – 3.5 years
  • Kevin Theissen – Errands – 3 years
  • Craig Coleman – Errands - 3 years
  • Barb Riotte – Errands - 3 years
  • David Lemal – Errands – 3 years
  • Chuck Hornsby – Errands – 3 years
  • Jeff Dwyer – Errands – 3 years
  • Leona Linney – Friendly Visitor - 3 years
  • David Dion – Vet to Vet – 3 years
  • Gloria Cristelli – Errands 2.5 years
  • Shirley Pinney – Errands – 2.5 years
  • Rev Janice Chilek – Friendly Visitor - 2 years
  • Mike Wagner – Errands - 2 years
  • Mary Miller – Friendly Visitor – 2 years
  • Nancy Schachinger -Friendly Visitor & Errands – 2 years
  • Terry Ranney – Errands – 2 years
  • Kathryn Pedersen – Friendly Visitor – 1.5 years
  • Laurentia Batchelder – Senior Companion – 1.5 years
  • Karen Miller – Errands - 1 year
  • Drew Adam – Friendly Visitor – 1 year
  • Richard Pearce – Vet to Vet – 1 year
  • Alison Roth – Friendly Visitor & Errands– 1 year.
  • Elizabeth Judson – Errands - 1 year
  • Andy Steele – Vet to Vet – 1 year
  • Stan Clark – Vet to Vet & Errands – 1 year
  • Frankie Cloutier – Friendly Visitor – 1 year
  • Thelma Gerow – AmeriCorps Member – 1 year
  • Angela Kincaid – AmeriCorps Member – new
  • Jared Tyler Floyd – AmeriCorps Member – new
  • Jack Lily – AmeriCorps Member – new
  • Daniel Tyrell – Foxy Fund - 1  year