When the Monroe County Unit of Retired & Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP) celebrated its 20th anniversary this fall, two events were actually being celebrated: the volunteers and their many hours of service, but perhaps even more, the leadership of the RSVP director Norma Fagan.
She has been the organization's director since its "birth" 20 years ago and is retiring Dec. 3.
"We never retire," said Fagan as she was lauded by various political persons, her volunteers and colleagues, and many friends. "We just go on to another adventure."
Her future adventures will surely include more time with family, following her love of flowers and gardening, and perhaps even becoming a Master Gardener, she has told friends.
Although the day of recognition focused on her, she turned the focus onto the volunteers, citing at the luncheon's beginning the volunteer work of Ray and June Butler of McMichaels, Chestnuthill Township.
They, Fagan explained, raised over $10,000 for RSVP by working hard on their own created project, a Holland American Cruise raffle.
Their volunteer work also includes June crocheting afghans, to Ray building ramps for those who need them and, of course, their time given to their church.
A power point presentation by Dr. Doreen Tobin, chair of the RSVP Advisory Board, was a visual review of some of the many volunteers, their hours and their work which impacts many, many sites in Monroe County.
Rep. Mario Scavello, one of the presenting dignitaries, told the audience that the 250,000 hours of service given by the Monroe volunteers equals $5,062,500 based on the 2009 value of $20.25 per hour. He presented Fagan with a citation from the PA House of Representatives.
Rep. John Siptroth followed, telling Fagan, "Thanks for all your services."
The RSVP volunteers "touch so many organizations," said Patty Fretz, Executive Director of Monroe's Area Agency on Aging, as she commended Fagan and the volunteers.
"Look what she's done in 20 years," said Grace Marks of Brodheadsville, representing several political leaders, including Sen. Pat Browne, Dave Argall and others.
"You do so much to help so many."
The three Monroe County Commissioners, Suzanne McCool, Theresa Merli and Janet Weidensaul, added their citation to the honors given Fagan and the volunteers.
"We are going to miss Norma."
Alma Ruiz Smith, from the office of Senator Robert Mellow, called Fagan "a shining example."
"No amount of money can pay you back."
Dr. Tobin touted Fagan's leadership and Angela Beers, president of the RSVP Foundation board, enumerated the many programs RSVP has created and touched by the 2,100 volunteers.
Those from among the volunteers who have served for 5 years, 10 years and 15 years were recognized. Commissioner Janet Weidensaul recognized the 20-year volunteers, of which there are almost 50.
Commissioner Merli recognized those who have given 1,000 hours in 2010. That included the Butlers and over 20 others who provided at least that many hours of volunteer service to the community as well.
The end of the luncheon did not end the fond farewell many expressed to Fagan.
At the November monthly meeting of the Interagency Council she was presented with a bouquet that represented the group's many thanks to her for serving that organization so well, including being the coordinator for speakers for the monthly meetings.
And at the final RSVP Advisory Board meeting which Fagan attended, a fond farewell continued with the woman who has guided, shaped and molded the RSVP course for the past 20 years.