By Allen Rau
A large crowd gathered last Friday at the Jonesborough Senior Center to celebrate the “U.S.S. Jonesborough Volunteer Appreciation Captain’s Luncheon” in honor of all the volunteers who serve at the center as well as the Washington County community.
“This is to recognize them and show appreciation for what they do for the community and our center,” Senior Center Director Mary Sanger said.
“These are people that serve anywhere from delivering Meals on Wheels to working at our reception desk, being a volunteer driver or working at our hospital.”
While the attendees were decked out in leis and sailor hats, the Asheville, North Carolina based band “The Caribbean Cowboys” serenaded the crowd throughout the event.
In addition to live music and the nautical theme, the “Captain’s Luncheon” also featured door prizes, a banana split station and a photographer to document the occasion.
According to Sanger, the Senior Center itself has between 50 and 60 volunteers; while the Meals on Wheels program relies on 40 to 50 volunteers who deliver close to 14,000 meals per year. Washington County has almost 300 total volunteers.
“They’re in the hospitals, they volunteer in the food pantry, Salvation Army, the VA (Veteran’s Affairs), they’re everywhere,” the director said.
“When people join (the senior center) we let them know that we have a volunteer program here so if they’re interested in volunteering they can sign up at membership.
“A lot of people have been volunteers for a long time, but then, of course, as new members come we let them know about our volunteer program.”
As the members, employees and volunteers enjoyed their lunches, Sanger expressed her appreciation for all those who volunteer to help others: “We’re glad that you’re here. We so appreciate everything that you all do for our center throughout the year, and over the years so many of you have been our volunteers for many years.
“We could not do what we’re accomplishing here without you. So a big heartfelt thanks to everyone in this room and all the hours and all the effort that you put into making this such a special place.”
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer call contact Lydia Porter at (423)753-1080.