Tribune Print Share Text

The volunteer, an American patriot

President’s Volunteer Service Awards honor Greenspring residents

Created date

June 19th, 2012

In the midst of firework displays, outdoor barbeques, and lazy days at the beach, people all over the U.S. will celebrate the country s birth this fourth of July. It will be a day to reflect upon the many factors that make the U.S. unique. One of the most striking is the desire among the people of this country to help those in need. Newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck once noted, Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the Earth who reflect this nation s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another. Illustrative of this giving spirit, 204 generous Americans living at Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., recently received the President s Volunteer Service Award. The award, first granted by President George W. Bush in 2003, serves to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.

Growing trend

The volunteerism prevalent at Greenspring is part of a growing trend. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The volunteer rate rose by 0.5% to 26.8% in 2011. A stunning 64.3 million Americans volunteered their time last year. Volunteers age 65 and over spent an average of 96 hours volunteering during this term. However, the Greenspring recipients of the President s Volunteer Service Award volunteered their time at more than twice this national average. Of the 204 recipients, 36 received gold awards for volunteering more than 500 hours in 2011. Community member Evelyn Jackson received one of these gold awards for the 1,193 hours she spent volunteering at the Treasure Chest, Greenspring s thrift store. Evelyn has managed the store since 2005, raising more than $575,000, all of which is given back to the community through donations to Greenspring s campus charity, scholarship program, and staff appreciation. Donations have also been made to the Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department. In addition, Evelyn received the Lifetime Volunteer Award for logging more than 4,000 hours of volunteer work. She also received the award in 2007, making her total more than 8,000 volunteer hours. Ever humble, Evelyn says, I m not the only one who volunteers their time. There are so many wonderful people here at Greenspring who do so many wonderful things. As for me, I enjoy working at the Treasure Chest. I ve met a lot of nice people, not only the volunteers we have more than 100 people helping out at the Treasure Chest but also the people who come in to buy.

Community partnership

We have more than 575 active volunteers at Greenspring who share their gifts with residents and staff, as well as with others out in the community, says Greenspring Executive Director Robin Gliboff. Our volunteers reach out to our area hospitals, schools, and many other agencies and truly make a difference. Among those making a difference is Al Nielsen, who, at 90, joined 54 other community members in receiving a silver award for dedicating 250 499 hours to volunteer work last year. I enjoy volunteering at Greenspring s in-house Channel 6 and on the Resident Advisory Council, he says. It gives me an opportunity to contribute my knowledge, skills, and experience for the betterment of our community. It also keeps me active and challenged. I most enjoy the camaraderie and friendship of my fellow residents. Volunteering is a stimulating and creative activity, says Jane Curtis, who received a silver award for her work as a TV production assistant and leader of the computer club and hieroglyphics and Egyptology group. It s a good feeling to know that you re using what you have to enrich or help the lives of those around you. Neighbor Michel Margosis joins 112 others in receiving a bronze award for 100 249 volunteer hours. I came to this country in 1943 from Belgium, just before the invasion of Sicily, and I have been able to grow as a man, free of persecution or oppression, to freely practice or not my religion, to study and select my own career, to marry a lovely and bright woman, and have a great family, he says. I have volunteered for years in a multitude of groups because of my desire to help people in need and to thank America for all I have been allowed.

Looking forward

As the volunteer spirit at Greenspring continues to grow, so do the number of award recipients. Since the first President s Volunteer Service Awards were bestowed at Greenspring in 2005, the number of volunteers has increased sevenfold. But not one of these generous volunteers give of themselves for the recognition they receive. This community and my neighbors are good people who care deeply for their fellow men and women, Michel says. Al agrees. We are a thriving, energetic community supported by dedicated, serving residents, he says.