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RSVP volunteers honored for service in North Central Iowa


This news story was published on July 20, 2021.
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NIACC campus

MASON CITY – Volunteers throughout North Central Iowa were honored for their cumulative years of service to their communities during RSVP’s annual Volunteer Celebration on June 9, with a ‘Parking Lot Party’ on the NIACC campus. The theme of this year’s event was, ‘Gold Star Celebration’ with an aim of recognizing the exceptional efforts made by volunteers to step up and lend a hand during what was a difficult and unprecedented year.

RSVP of North Central Iowa staff presented 29 Outstanding Volunteer Awards to individuals who volunteered 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 and Reading Coaches, helping elementary and middle school students improve their reading skills; Pen Pals, writing letters to fourth through sixth-graders; Breakfast Buddies, visiting with students at school-sponsored breakfast; International Friends, making NIACC’s international students feel at home in Iowa; helping with registrations at American Red Cross blood drives; and reading to the blind on KCMR radio. This year, RSVP volunteers also made a tremendous impact in new ways including sewing masks, sending cards to front line workers and educators, working as contact tracers and assisting with vaccine clinics.

Outstanding Volunteer Awards were presented by RSVP staff based on the following levels of lifetime service:

Gold award (500+ hours)
Gold recipients honored at this year’s event included Virginia Baumann, Karen Dole and Cathy Homan of Mason City and JoAnn Andrea of Manly. The total service time provided by these volunteers topped almost 2,300 hours. Collectively, they have served at nearly every RSVP program site in North Central Iowa. The tremendous impact of their service will continue to benefit their communities for years to come.

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

Silver (250-499 hours)
Clear Lake:
Karen Flick
Mason City:
Midge Gaylor
Julie Thorren-Birkedal
Audrey Wolf
Kay Erland
Gwen Suntken
Rockwell: Lana Schafer
Manly: Marilyn Pinta
Forest City: Barb Braun

Bronze (100-249 hours)
Sheffield: Nickie Baker
Mason City:
Alan Steckman
Don Gettner
Larry Kollman
Colleen Last
Amy Dodge
Clear Lake:
Carol Meindl
Nicky Berge
Star Barnes
David Burgart
Craig Rule
Emmons, MN: Sheri Borcherding
Britt: Kathryn Smith

RSVP Director Molly Anderegg shares, “This year, due to COVID, RSVP had fewer volunteers serving less hours; however, those that were active were passionate about serving and found it even more rewarding. During the pandemic, we partnered with three new nonprofit organizations and offered new and different COVID-friendly volunteer opportunities. I am thankful for those who were willing to able to volunteer during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Also recognized were retiring members of the RSVP Advisory Council: Kimberly Booth of Hampton, Karen Dole and Carol Johnson of Mason City, Larry Hill of Thompson, and Bob Perry of Northwood. After one year, they are eligible to join the council again.

For information on RSVP of North Central Iowa, visit www.niacc.edu/community-and-continuing-education/continuing-education/rsvp or contact 1-888-466-4222 ext. 4256, (641) 422-4256 or rsvp@niacc.edu. RSVP of North Central Iowa serves the counties of Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hancock, Mitchell, Winnebago and Worth responding to priority community needs by providing meaningful, purposeful volunteer opportunities for people ages 55 and over. RSVP is sponsored by North Iowa Area Community College and is partly funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, State of Iowa, United Way of North Central Iowa and local county governments.

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