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RSVP volunteers honored for service in North Central Iowa

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MASON CITY – Volunteers throughout North Central Iowa were honored for their years of service to their communities during RSVP’s annual Volunteer Celebration on June 7.

RSVP of North Central Iowa staff presented 30 Outstanding Volunteer Awards to individuals who volunteer in the six counties RSVP serves: Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hancock, Mitchell, Winnebago and Worth.

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

Terry Schumaker, Dean of Continuing Education at NIACC, welcomed more than 120 volunteers and their guests to the afternoon event, and thanked the volunteers for their dedication and service in their communities.

“The impact you have made this year warrants recognition and a celebration like the one we are having today,” stated guest speaker, Dr. Steve Schulz, President of NIACC, as he showed his appreciation to all 338 volunteers who committed a total of 6,280 hours of their time this year. “Whether you volunteer in one of our many school programs, the Red Cross, Emergency Preparedness, volunteer at IRIS, or serve as an international friend, you are enriching lives and improving the communities in which you serve.”

RSVP Director Molly Anderegg and Volunteer Coordinator Theresa Price presented the Outstanding Volunteer Awards, which are based on cumulative hours served by a volunteer over a lifetime. Three levels of awards were given: Bronze (100 to 249 hours), Silver (250 to 499 hours) and Gold (500+ hours).

Gold award (500+ hours)
Marcia Kraft of Northwood started volunteering with RSVP in 2004. She has served as a Reading Buddy, Reading Coach and Pen Pal. Marcia prefers to blend in but she has always been a great “Face of RSVP” in Northwood.
Tiny Shelton of Forest City has been with RSVP since 2007 serving as a Breakfast Buddy, Reading Buddy, and Pen Pal. Tiny cares for the children she works with and is a positive influence on their lives.
Steven Urbatsch of Mason City started volunteering with RSVP in 2013. He has served as an International Friend at NIACC, Reading Buddy, and Pen Pal. He is always willing to write to a new student and bring his enthusiasm to his volunteering.
Other RSVP volunteers recognized for reaching a lifetime award level include:

Silver (250-499 hours)
Britt: Judy Fox and Carolyn Ostercamp
Clear Lake: Glen Christensen, Ellen Jandebeur, and Sandy Nyhus
Forest City: Annette Bruns and Aiden Kelly
Mason City: Chuck Sweetman and Nancy Sweetman

Bronze (100-249 hours)
Buffalo Center: Frances Meyer and Roz Swanson
Clear Lake: Pat Amosson and Jane Broghammer
Garner: Nora Claude, Dee Hollatz, and Juanita Stromer
Forest City: Marlys Ebaugh
Leland: Mariann Holst
Mason City: Jean Davidson, Jack Gannett, Jane Ginapp, Joann Johnson, Robbi Kleckner, Peggy Solberg, and Glady Udelhofen
Northwood: Stephen Converse
Rockwell: Lana Schaefer
RSVP Director Molly Anderegg reviewed progress on the expansion into Franklin and Mitchell Counties and told all volunteers, “Today is about celebrating all of you and the service you provide in your communities. No matter what you do with RSVP, thank you for your service to others – you truly are improving the lives around you.”

Anderegg also recognized retiring RSVP staff members, Volunteer Coordinator Linda Willeke and Administrative Assistant Connie Ciccetti, as well as retiring Advisory Council members Verla Perry of Northwood and Tony Coloff of Forest City.
Entertainment for the event was provided by La Danza Folklorica from La Luz Hispana of Hampton.

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