Negaunee Senior Citizens Center honors volunteers

NEGAUNEE – The Negaunee Senior Citizens Center honored its volunteers May 1 with a special breakfast at the center.

“Today we honor those people who volunteer a precious commodity, their time,” center Director Kristy Basolo said. “Our volunteers make things possible here at the center that simply wouldn’t be possible without their help.”

The event coincides with the Negaunee Commission on Aging’s 40th anniversary, but the hope is the volunteer breakfast will be held annually to honor the dedication of the center’s numerous volunteers.

“It’s something that we have talked about doing for a while,” Basolo said. “So, we will see if it will become an annual event to honor our volunteers.”

Volunteer Joy Holman noted that center employees also deserve to be honored.

“I think the people that work here enrich our lives so much. You guys really deserve a big hand,” Joy Holman said.

Holman’s mother served on the Negaunee Commission on Aging when it started 40 years ago. So, when she retired she moved back to Negaunee and decided to serve on the commission.

“They needed someone and that’s how I got involved. I was happy to have something to do and felt like I was contributing to my town,” Holman said. “The staff here is willing to do anything which makes you want to do anything to make their job easier.”

For volunteers Larry and Linda Dillman volunteering at the center was just natural because they liked helping out and wanted the chance to make new friends in the process.

“It enriches our lives by helping others it really does,” Linda Dillman said. ” If you’re doing for others you’re not worried about yourself.”

The Dillman’s have been volunteering at the center for three years now and Linda also helps out at the D. J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans.

“There are so many opportunities to volunteer but this place is awesome,” Linda Dillman said. ” Staff here just make you feel welcome so you want to help.”

Their favorite things to do at the center are cribbage, the luncheons and the trips. However, Holman wanted to emphasize that for the volunteers it’s about helping behind the scenes making the events possible that is important, not just attending them.

“I think for the volunteers it’s not so much that they participate in the dances and things, but what they do is help so those things are possible, because the three people (employees) here couldn’t possibly do everything.” Holman said.

When asked about what they would tell potential volunteers, both Holman and Dillman had powerful messages for those willing to give their time to others.

“I would tell them to step out of their box and come down here and meet the great people who are here,” Dillman said. “Step up to the plate and do something, not for yourself, but to help others. You get more satisfaction out of helping others than you’ll ever get just for yourself.”

Holman added, “Some people will say the senior center, ‘I don’t go there. That’s a bunch of old people.’ When in truth, the people who are here are really not the old people. They are the ones who want to be active and keep doing things,” Holman said. “The really old people are sitting home.”

Sylvia Stevens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.