Volunteers recognized by United Way Alliance

VIENNA – Those who give back to their communities by volunteering their time were honored Monday night in Vienna.

The United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley held its 2013 Volunteer Recognition Dinner at Grand Pointe Conference Center. Monday also marked the beginning of National Volunteer Week.

”For this past year, a lot of the success of the United Way Alliance has been due to the work of hundreds of volunteers,” said Joyce Mather, executive director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. ”Tonight we salute you, our volunteers, for giving of your precious time to the United Way and our agencies.

”You are our lifeblood. You make us strong. You bring credibility to all of our organizations that you helped. You are there by choice, not because it is your job and we are thankful for each and every person in this room.”

About 25 percent of West Virginians and 26 percent of Ohioans volunteer, Mather said. People 35 to 44 years old are most likely to volunteer, while 27 percent of teens volunteer and that number continues to grow.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp spoke of the need to recognize what is accomplished by volunteers.

”The most important thing I can say to each and every one of you is ‘thank you,”’ he said. ”Without you all we would hardly get anything done.

”If we had to pay you, even at minimum wage, for all the hours you contribute it would bankrupt every city in the valley.”

Volunteers help with recreational activities, educational programs at the library and much more, Rapp said. It was volunteers who stepped up to help the area last summer when electricity was lost for days.

”We relied a lot on the Red Cross,” Rapp said.

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said so many events and programs are successful because of people giving freely of their time.

Last summer, state officials with the American Red Cross were working from the cafeteria at Parkersburg South High School to coordinate services locally and throughout West Virginia.

”Volunteers were there day and night,” Newell said of efforts to address the needs of the community here and around the state.

”I want to thank everyone who is a volunteer,” he said.

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz asked those assembled to take a look around their communities and see everything being accomplished by volunteers.

In Belpre, work is being done, in part by volunteers, to improve the senior citizens center and the historical society. Local beautification projects are being done by volunteers. Volunteers protect life and property through the volunteer fire department, Lorentz said.

”I would be at a loss if it wasn’t for volunteers,” Lorentz said. ”We are blessed with volunteers and we are blessed to live in this area.”