About 45 volunteers of the Mahoning Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center recently were commended at the annual Volunteer Tea for the commitment, dedication and love they show residents when they visit the center.

As the volunteers arrived at the Emerald Room, they were treated to music by David Westrip, who performed on piano.

Welcoming everyone was Cindy Swatt, activity director; Nancy Snyder, activities department; and Christopher Rodrigues, human resources executive.

Rodrigues thanked everyone on behalf of the center for the gifts of friendship, love, patience and time they give to residents.

"Your gifts are irreplaceable," he said. "Some of you are working, have families and lead busy lives, but you still choose to be a volunteer. You make people smile and you do it because you understand the value of your gift."

He said being a volunteer is a special gift.

"You help make the lives of our residents better."

Swatt said she tried to put herself in the shoes of the volunteers.

"I asked myself what inspires and motivates someone to sacrifice their valuable time and monetary expense to drive here unselfishly, to put in so much effort to help others, whose touch and presence changes lives and lifts spirits, offers comfort and kindness and makes such a significant difference in countless ways," she said.

Swatt said that the activity staff, facility staff and administration are grateful to know that there are wonderful people willing to volunteer.

"Each of you has to face challenges," she said. "Yet you set aside time to freely and willingly come here to give so much of yourself to our residents."

Swatt said that the volunteers presense doesn't go unnoticed or unappreciated.

"Our gratitude to you can't be measured," she said. "You volunteers give the best gift of all yourselves. Our volunteers do make a difference."

Also part of the program was Edie George, president of the Resident's Council, who had composed a poem about a little bird outside her window.

Snyder recognized volunteers for offering Catholic communion, being eucharistic ministers, leading Protestant worship services, playing cards, taking part in country line dancing, playing bingo with the residents, being gospel music singers, transporting patients, gardening, office work, entertaining characters, veteran programs, pianists, and planning a Mother's Day Tea.

Each of the volunteers was served strawberry cake, chocolate cake, fresh fruit and peach tea.