RSVP Volunteers Honored for Service in North Central Iowa

Volunteers throughout North Central Iowa were honored for their years of service to their communities during RSVP’s annual Volunteer Celebration on June 1.

RSVP of North Central Iowa staff presented 35 Outstanding Volunteer Awards to individuals who volunteer in the four counties RSVP serves: Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago and Worth.

The volunteers honored serve in a variety of programs as: Reading Buddies or Reading Coaches, helping elementary and middle school students improve their reading skills; Pen Pals, writing letters to fourth- and fifth-graders; Breakfast Buddies, visiting with students at school-sponsored breakfast; Walking School Bus volunteers, escorting children to school; International Friends, making NIACC’s international students feel at home in Iowa; Volunteer Ombudsmen advocating for persons in care facilities, and reading to the blind on KCMR radio.

Larry Hill, president of the RSVP Advisory Council, welcomed more than 150 volunteers and their guests to the afternoon event, and thanked the volunteers for their dedication and service in their communities.

RSVP Director Molly Anderegg and Terry Schumaker, Dean of Continuing Education at NIACC, presented the Outstanding Volunteer Awards which are based on cumulative hours served by a volunteer over a lifetime. Three levels of awards were given: Bronze (100 to 249 hours), Silver (250 to 499 hours) and Gold (500+ hours).

Gold award (500+ hours)
JoAnn Bartleson of Forest City has been a volunteer since 2005 and has served as a Breakfast Buddy, Reading Buddy and Reading Coach benefiting many students in the Forest City schools. JoAnn loves the kids and is a wonderful role model.

JoAnn Bartleson of Forest City earned RSVP’s Outstanding Volunteer Gold Award for over 500 lifetime hours of service at Forest City Community School.

Other RSVP volunteers recognized for reaching a lifetime award level include:

Silver (250-499 hours)
Britt: Dorothy Denny
Garner: Kathy Gibbs
Mason City: Marsha Nord, Debbie Sedars and Susan Urbatsch
Northwood: Stephen Wolfe

Volunteers with 250 to 499 lifetime hours of service received the Outstanding Volunteer Silver Award at the RSVP Volunteer Celebration at NIACC. Receiving awards were (left to right): Marcia Nord, Debbie Sedars, Susan Urbatsch, Stephen Wolfe, Kathy Gibbs and Dorothy Denny

Bronze (100-249 hours)
Britt: Linda Arndorfer, Marlene Gray, JoAnn Harle and Marlys Perkins
Buffalo Center: Judy Boeckholt
Clear Lake: Jan Fynskov, Nancy Huber, Debbie Mikesell and Mary Moeller
Garner: Val Anderson, Janice Bachman, Roseann Boehnke, Patty Hestad and Elaine Olson
Lake Mills: Ruth Levorson
Mason City: Midge Gaylor, Raymond Heimbuch, Jerry Sedars, Chuck Sweetman, Nancy Sweetman. Julie Thoreen-Birkedal, Teresa VanZante and Scott Warren
Northwood: Edith Haenel, Renee Hartman, Jo Moretz and Joan Watts
Rockwell: Sue McLaughlin

Volunteers with 100 to 249 lifetime service hours received the Outstanding Volunteer Bronze Award at the celebration. Recipients included (front row, left to right): Joan Watts, Jo Moretz, Teresa VanZante, Ruth Levorson, Patty Hestad, Midge Gaylor, Nancy Huber and Sue McLaughlin (back row, left to right): Chuck Sweetman, Nancy Sweetman, Jerry Sedars, Elaine Olson, Debbie Mikesell, Raymond Heimbuch, Linda Arndorfer and Marlene Gray  (not pictured) Jan Anderson, Janice Bachman, Judy Boeckholt, Roseann Boehnke, Jan Fynskov, Edith Haenel, JoAnn Harle, Renee Hartman, Mary Moeller, Marlys Perkins, Julie Thoreen-Birkedal, Scott Warren

RSVP Director Molly Anderegg reviewed program highlights and told volunteers, “Whether you have been writing letters to a Pen Pal, helping students learn to read, or meeting with a foreign exchange student at NIACC, the positive impact you have on those you serve is huge.”

Anderegg presented a check based on the value of an hour of volunteer service in Iowa, which is $22.95 per hour, to representatives of organizations that provide funding to RSVP. During 2016-17, 367 volunteers served 6,941 hours. Therefore, the return on investment for RSVP volunteer service is $159,296. For a fairly small investment by these entities, and the Corporation for National & Community Service, the value of RSVP is huge in our local communities.

Anderegg also thanked Advisory Council members for their service and recognized retiring member Marilyn Kral of Garner.

For information on RSVP of North Central Iowa, visit or contact 1-888-466-4222 ext. 4256, (641) 422-4256 or RSVP of North Central Iowa serves the counties of Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago and Worth responding to priority community needs by providing meaningful, purposeful volunteer opportunities for people ages 55 and over. RSVP is sponsored by North Iowa Area Community College and is partly funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, State of Iowa, United Way of North Central Iowa and local county governments.

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