The Putnam Office for Senior Resources hosted its annual Volunteer Recognition Event, honoring the dedicated volunteers of the Putnam SeniorCorps program. The event took place at the Putnam County Golf Course and celebrated the remarkable contributions of individuals aged 60 and older who have generously given their time and skills to serve the community.
Formerly known as the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), Putnam SeniorCorps underwent a rebranding initiative in 2021 to better reflect its mission and objectives. The program harnesses the talents, interests, experience, and professional expertise of seniors to enrich the community through various volunteer placements.
Putnam SeniorCorps boasts over 370 volunteers serving at more than 40 stations. Volunteers have been instrumental in addressing the needs of the Putnam County community, collectively contributing an impressive average of 34,000+ volunteer hours per year. These services, valued at $35 per hour according to the state of New York, amount to $1,190,000 worth of support. Their services encompass vital areas such as medical transportation for seniors and veterans, food pantry support, programming including exercise and arts & crafts classes, telephone reassurance for homebound seniors, and fall prevention activities held at the four County Friendship Centers.
"Putnam SeniorCorps exemplifies the extraordinary dedication and commitment of our county's seniors,” said County Executive Kevin Byrne. “Their selfless service positively impacts the lives of countless individuals and strengthens the fabric of our community. We are truly fortunate to have such compassionate and dedicated volunteers."
During the event, several distinguished honorees were recognized for their outstanding contributions:
Barbara Hitchcock was named the "Senior of the Year" in recognition of her exceptional service having volunteered over 15,000 hours with the SeniorCorps over the years. She began her volunteer efforts and the Eagle Eye Thrift Shop, and currently volunteers at the main lobby reception desk at Putnam Hospital Center.
“You must get out and move! You need to keep busy to live a healthy, productive life,” said Hitchcock “And money isn’t everything…it’s more the joy I get from helping others. It makes me feel great!”
Rosemary Flynn and Martin Chmura received the Community Service Award, while Rosaline Deigh, Jaime Hustis, and Margaret Ryan were each presented with the Humanitarian Award for their remarkable volunteer efforts in various capacities.
Putnam County seniors play a significant role in the local economy, representing 25% of the population. Their 85% homeownership rate and substantial contribution of over 25% to the county's GDP further highlight their importance and influence.
The Volunteer Recognition Event served as a testament to the remarkable spirit of volunteerism among Putnam County seniors and expressed heartfelt appreciation for their invaluable contributions. The Putnam Office for Senior Resources remains committed to supporting and empowering seniors to continue making a positive difference in the community.