Broome & Cattaraugus Counties Honorees
Betty and Ray Ward have lived in Whitney Point for more than 40 years. Ray was a guard and Betty worked at Endicott Johnson. Ray served in the Navy for 5 years. Aft er losing their spouses, they met at the Senior Center, fell in love and got married at the center in 1997. Betty and Ray each have three boys and one girl.
Ray and Betty have volunteered for Meals on Wheels since 2000 and are very dedicated to the program. They drove the "A" route 5 times a week for years. Through rain, snow, sleet and wind they always showed up to receive big smiles on their clients' faces.
They also volunteer at the center, with Betty working in the kitchen and Ray helping out wherever he is needed. Both agree that they wanted to do something to give back to the community. They love helping others.
The greatest reward for Betty and Ray is meeting the clients whom they serve and being able to help put smiles on their faces. Betty and Ray exemplify true selflessness, as both began volunteering simply because they wanted to provide assistance to those who needed it most.
Maureen Richardson is a native New Yorker and has lived in Olean all of her life. She has four children and nine grandchildren. She operated her own business, Richardson Grocers, for many years and after that was employed as the Medical Records Center Clerk.
She started volunteering 18 years ago for the Cattaraugus County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) on February 10, 1995. She has contributed a total of 3,518 hours to two programs. Maureen delivers meals to the homebound through the Cattaraugus County Senior Wellness and Nutrition Program (SWAN). Secondly, she has provided medical transportation to those in need through the Interfaith Caregivers Program. It has been estimated that she has delivered over 22,000 meals during these years. Her efforts have kept hundreds of senior citizens in their homes, preventing the need for placement in a nursing home or assisted living environment. Maureen also provides a friendly visitor check when delivering meals. She is always willing to help out when asked. This past holiday season Maureen (age 80) volunteered to dress up as a cookie and walked in the blistering cold weather the length of the City of Olean in their parade to help recruit volunteers for the SWAN.
Maureen said she started volunteering because "she just wanted to help people in need" and she enjoys "getting to know the people I serve and to feel like I've helped make their lives better in some way."
Bernie Eisenhart has lived in Allegany for 63 years and worked for the Olean Medical Group for 34 years in the x-ray department, chart room and as a nurse. She has three daughters, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
On May 26, 1989 Bernie started volunteering for the Cattaraugus County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Since that time she has volunteered and contributed a total of 3,102 hours to the Olean Public Library. Bernie helps the public in fi nding books, handles/inspects borrowed materials when returned, and sees that they are shelved properly. She contacts consumers regarding special orders, puts covers on books, and keeps the library shelves in great order for all to enjoy.
Bernie has volunteered for 24 years. When asked what she gets from volunteering her answer was "I needed something to do," she said. "I'm not a person to sit around."
And her greatest reward? "I've gotten so much more out of it from the people I help than I have given."