Volunteers of the Lawton RSVP and the Delta Community Action Foster Grandparent program were recognized for their efforts during a ceremony last week in commemoration of National Service Recognition Day.
Lawton joined other cities across the nation as part of a Mayor's Day of Recognition for National Service in recognizing nearly 300 citizens.
"Thank you so much for the time you give and the services needed," Mayor Fred Fitch told the volunteers.
Some 250 Lawton RSVP (formerly the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers work with local organizations, assist the police department in the conducting of safety patrols, participate in environmental stewardship projects in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and respond to regional and national disasters through their work with the American Red Cross. The volunteers logged an estimated 48,7000 hours of their time with the Lawton RSVP during 2012.
Mary Virginia Ozier, a longtime volunteer at age 90, has assisted various organizations for the past 35 years. One of those is the Hospice of Lawton, which was started in 1983 by her late husband, Whit Ozier, and a group of friends. Her husband was also the first president of Hospice of Lawton and she ended up becoming one of its first volunteers.30 years ago. In addition to Hospice of Lawton and other RSVP programs, Ozier also recently began volunteering for the Center of Creative Living.
"I've made many friends that I can still count on," she said. "The volunteer benefits as much as the organization he or she serves. They come back threefold."
RSVP volunteers are considered the largest contingent of the nation's Senior Corps volunteers. The mission of the Lawton RSVP is to augment nonprofit agencies with its volunteers, people who are passionate about continuing to make invaluable contributions of their time and expertise to their community.
There are 29 Lawton RSVP volunteer stations. They include diverse organizations such as the American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 751, the Oklahoma Blood Institute, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Southwestern Medical Center, Lawton Public Library, Lawton Food Bank, Center for Creative Living, Fort Sill's Flower Ministry and the Holy City of the Wichitas.