Volunteers were honored for their dedication to the community of Chillicothe.

On Tuesday evening, supporters, organizers, family and friends gathered to celebrate the volunteers of 55 & GO. The service organization has been teaming up senior citizens with volunteer opportunities for more than four decades and now partners with 31 local schools, organizations and non-profits. Patty Mefford, director of 55 & GO told the group, “We are here to celebrate you and all you do.”

Leading the invocation was Associate Pastor Mike Tipton, with the United Methodist Church. “You all wore me out by just reading all that you do,” he said. “I am very impressed with all you do for the community of Chillicothe.”

Mayor Theresa Kelly served as master of ceremonies for the event and read the nomination forms for the winners of the male and female volunteers of the year and Station of the Year.

“Since becoming a 55 & GO Volunteer 27 years ago, she has given 9,822 hours of service to our community. She has served many places including: 55 & GO Joy Toy Project and office, American Legion, Baptist Home, Hedrick Medical Center, Mobile Meals for the Homebound, which includes being her church coordinator, Morningside Center and Threads Thrift Store,” Kelly said.

Quoting her nominator, “She is the most willing and available person. Also she is so helpful to assist at church functions of dinners for funerals. Peggy Switzer is indeed a very deserving recipient of the 55 & GO Female Volunteer of the Year Award.”

The Male Volunteer of the Year, has only been an official volunteer for six months, Kelly said.

“He has already given 148 hours of service to the Grand River Multi-Purpose Center. Actually, he helped many years at GRMC, before enrolling in 55 & GO.”

Quoting those who nominated him, Kelly continued by saying, “He never misses a day. He marks and puts away all of our food on truck days. He helps package up home delivered meals daily. He breaks down boxes. He helps with maintenance and fixes things that need it. He picks up trash around the outside of our building and sprays for weeds. He volunteers to help with fundraising events and serves on the Advisory Council. He helps with clean-up after our daily meal. He is always considerate and helpful when asked to do whatever needs to be

Done. Joe Preston is a very deserving recipient of the 55 & GO Male Volunteer of the Year Award.”

There are 31 groups that team up with 55 & GO, giving volunteers a variety of places and groups to choose from. Of those, Joy Toys was named as Station of the Year.

“This station has been a part of 55 & GO since 1984, making this their 35th anniversary. During the past year alone, 17 volunteers served 735 hours,” Kelly said. “Volunteers do minor repairs on toys, bikes and trikes. They also sort, clean, and organize the toys to give to the parents of children of families in need at Christmas time. Last year alone toys, bikes, and more were given to 94 families with a total of 394 children.”

The nominating form said, “Last year volunteers helped several community agencies besides their usual job of rehabbing toys for families and children in need. They picked out and cleaned baby/toddler toys for Foster Care Connect when they opened. They gathered stuffed animals for the Chillicothe Police Department to give to children to comfort them when their parents are facing arrest. They invited new teachers from Chula, Trenton, Hale and Chillicothe to choose books for their libraries, as well as Amish women who were opening a new school. The bicycle volunteers supply children and needy adults a rehabilitated bicycle all year long-not just

during Christmas. The Joy Toys Project is indeed a worthy recipient of the 55 & GO Station

of the Year Award.”

Other volunteers were also recognized for their dedicated service with a certificate or pin from Mefford.

55 & GO volunteers who have given more than 500 hours of their time, include: Mary Davis,

Betty Hawkins, Jean Griesbach, Norma Shearer, Lois Clark, Rosemary Funk, Barbara Cox,

F.R. Bailey, Patrick Bailey, Marvin Holcer and Barbara Sizemore.

The following people have been volunteers with 55 & GO for 20 years and received 20-year pins: Janet England, Jean Griesbach, Nina Griffin, Darla Macoubrie, Richard Myers and Rema Warren.

Those receiving a pin for their 15 years of volunteer service, include: Virginia Rice, Margie Sensenich, Norma Shearer, Barbara Sizemore, and Ruth Ann Steele.

Ten-year pins were given to the following volunteers: Betty Hawkins, Judith Lee, Jan Logan,

John Meyer, Kathryn Ratliff, Beverly Spainhour and Jack Wilson.

The following volunteers received pin for five years of volunteer service with 55 & GO:

Donna Callen, Patrick Groom, Sharon Mitchell and Janet Aurelia Schreiner.

Stations and the organization's leaders were also recognized for their collaborative efforts with the group. These include: Bishop Hogan Memorial School, 45 years; Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce, 42 years; Concerned Citizens for the Community, Inc., 46 years, Grand River Historical Society, 42 years; Hedrick Medical Center, 36 years; House of Prayer Rescue Mission, 25 years; 55 & GO Joy Toy Project, 35 years; Livingston County Health Center, 39 years; Mobile Meals for the Homebound, 46 years; Morningside Center, 38 years and Threads Thrift Store, 27 years.

In the spirit of volunteer service local Boy Scouts and leaders from Troop 120 helped serve the meal before the awards presentation and entertainment by Flip Side Band.

For more information about volunteering with 55 & GO or the organization in general, please call 646-0010.