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Volunteers honored for service in North Central Iowa

This news story was published on June 17, 2016.
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27412035410_4995040b53_zMASON CITY – Volunteers throughout North Central Iowa were honored for their years of service to their communities during the Retired Senior Volunteer Program‘s (RSVP) annual Volunteer Celebration June 2.

RSVP of North Central Iowa staff presented 32 Outstanding Volunteer Awards to individuals who volunteer in the four counties RSVP serves: Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago and Worth.

The volunteers honored serve in a variety of programs: as Reading Buddies or Reading Coaches, helping elementary and middle school students improve their reading skills; as Pen Pals, writing letters to fourth- and fifth-graders; as Breakfast Buddies, visiting with students at school-sponsored breakfasts; as Walking School Bus volunteers, escorting children to school; as International Friends, making NIACC’s international students feel at home in Iowa; as a Volunteer Ombudsman advocating for persons in care facilities, and reading to the blind on KCMR radio.

Larry Hill, president of the RSVP Advisory Council, welcomed more than 150 volunteers and their guests to the afternoon event, and thanked the volunteers for their dedication and service in their communities.

RSVP Director Molly Anderegg, Terry Schumaker, Dean of Continuing Education at NIACC and Dr. Steven Schulz, NIACC President, presented the Outstanding Volunteer Awards, which are based on cumulative hours served by a volunteer over a lifetime. Three levels of awards are given: Bronze (100 to 249 lifetime service hours), Silver (250 to 499 lifetime service hours) and Gold (500+ hours).

3 gold award recipients (500+ hours)

Joe Angstman of Buffalo Center has been a volunteer since 2004 and reads with both elementary and middle school students. He is known for willingly taking challenging students and making a strong connection with them.  Angstman has also served on the RSVP Advisory Council for six years.

Lois DeLeon is a busy volunteer for many organizations and RSVP is fortunate to have been one of them since 2004.  She is passionate about helping children succeed and has been instrumental in recruiting new volunteers for West Hancock Schools.

Joyce Nielsen has been a volunteer since 2011 and is very active serving multiple shifts in multiple classrooms at Harding Elementary School in Mason City.  Her care and commitment are also seen in her willingness to work with students with special needs.

Other RSVP volunteers recognized for reaching a lifetime award level include:

Silver (250-499 hours)

Britt: Kay Kopacek and Beverly Nelson

Clear Lake: Alyce Wilson

Forest City: Judith Anderson

Garner: Patricia Pool

Mason City: Terri Engels, Ruth Geilenfeld and Sandy McCauley


Bronze (100-249 hours)

Clear Lake: Glen Christensen, Sharron Rule, Marilee Skinner and Nancy Smith

Forest City: Annette Bruns and Barbara Johnson

Garner: Kathy Fell, Joe Gibbs and Bobbie Gifford

Kanawha: Shirley Baker and Pat Sampson

Manly: Joyce Nuehring

Mason City: Sharon Deets, Karen Dole, Penny Finneman, Vel Mondahl, Stephanie O’ Donnell, Marlene Peterson, and Vickie Stangler

Northwood: Nancy Amundson and Judy Balkenende

RSVP Director Molly Anderegg reviewed program highlights, noting that 383 volunteers – a record high – served over 7,900 hours during the past school year.  “In our Pen Pal program,” she said, “more than 4,000 letters were mailed back and forth between students and volunteers. The program has proven to be a huge success. When it started, none of us realized the impact it would have on students, volunteers and teachers.”

Anderegg continued. “We know from teachers and principals that your service is extremely valuable to the students. … The impact volunteers are having on helping students improve their reading and writing skills is tremendous.”

Anderegg thanked members of the Advisory Council for their service and presented plaques to retiring members Brenda Hanson and John Severtson who both have served three three-year terms.

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One Response to Volunteers honored for service in North Central Iowa

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    Ralph Reply Report comment

    June 17, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Congratulations to these people! I know several of them and their communities are lucky to have them helping out. There are a lot of talented and caring people here in North Iowa.