From "A" (beginning with Betty Absalom) to "Z" (ending with Marion Zysling), volunteers who work through and with the Monroe County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, some 1,784 strong, were honored, thanked and recognized at the 19th annual RSVP luncheon held at Split Rock.

Among those especially recognized were almost 30 who have given over 1,000 hours to the RSVP program for the 2008-2009 program year, including husband and wife team, Ray and June Butler from McMichaels. Their services alone encompasses such diverse doings as building ramps, railings and repairing a church for Ray and crocheting lap robes-continuously, driving folks to medical appointments whether to the VA or just shopping for folks who can't get out on their own.

Many times the two are together in their volunteer duties, whether selling tickets for a Trooper Miller benefit, visiting PV Manor, or putting out cans for the American Cancer Society and then a month later collecting the donated funds to turn over to ACS.

"The majority of the people are sweethearts," says June of the folks they touch with their volunteerism. Of RSVP she says, "It's a great organization."

Norma Fagan, the RSVP director, shared similar thoughts about the volunteers, thanking them several times and giving the luncheon guests statistics from the past year.

The volunteers tallied over 250,000 hours and worked at 170 locations. Two hundred fifty persons were visited and 140 individuals were impacted via the "Minor Home Repairs Program" in which Ray Butler is one of the heavily involved volunteers.

"He's got a sidewalk to repair and a shower door to install," says June of her busy husband as she admits she takes her needle and thread on visits to the hospital and other times and places when there is a little down time and her hands can keep busy.

Thank you's from area legislators, from County Commissioners to aides for Representatives who were busy in Harrisburg with the state budget, including Grace Marks and Maxine Schaffer echoed the thanks Fagan gave the volunteers numerous times.

Speaking also to the several hundred in attendance were Angela Beers, president of the RSVP Foundation and Dr. Matt Connell from Northampton Community College.

Whether folding or filing papers in an office, teaching the AARP Driver refresher course, delivering Meals on Wheels, tutoring a child, being a friendly visitor to shut-ins, the services of RSVP volunteers has "substantial and immense" impact on the Monroe County community.

The RSVP office received over 1,500 requests for services this past year, with the greatest coming from the "Community Service" sector (50 %), followed by "Education and Environment" (22%). Other parts of the service pie are: Minor Home Repairs, Arts & Entertainment, and Clerical/Bulk Mailing

Any one or any business or entity needing help, or any individual wanting to give help can contact the RSVP office in Stroudsburg at (570) 420-3747 or Betty Nuss, the West End satellite coordinator at 570-730-4798.

RSVP is the positive link for the helping hands of service available in the county.