By Pat Brown, Contributing Writer
To honor first responders on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy, members of the Montgomery County RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) packed and delivered baskets of treats for 21 emergency agencies in Montgomery County and Radford.
Two hundred and fifty local RSVP members, all 55 years of age or older, donated their time to bake treats and pack snacks into baskets. A group of nine volunteers delivered the gift baskets and trays on trips that included stops at Radford University and Virginia Tech, both of which maintain first-aid squads. The thank-you treats went to police stations and sheriff’s headquarters, fire stations, and rescue teams.
RSVP Director Mandy Hayes called the event a “Patriot’s Day of Service.” Last year’s event had to be virtual because of the threat of COVID. Noting that RSVP is designed to attract seniors, Hayes said, “We serve some of the most vulnerable people.”
Hayes said RSVP members usually give out tote bags to residents of a local nursing home at Christmas illustrating that the volunteers are busy all year long. The bags are filled with useful and thoughtful items, some of which might be holiday themed. This year bags will go to residents of the Kroontje facility at Warm Hearth Village.
On Veterans Day in November, nursing homes receive vases of flowers in red, white, and blue from RSVP. “In normal times our volunteers put those together,” Hayes said, but health concerns prevented a group project last fall, so flowers had to be ordered.
RSVP offices are located on the first floor of the Montgomery County Health Department building. Montgomery County has had a senior volunteer program in place for the past 48 years and includes Radford City as part of the service area.
The agency is funded by the federal government through AmeriCorp, by the Montgomery Board of Supervisors, and by local fundraising efforts and donations.
Hayes singled out Supervisor Sherri Blevins and County Administrator Craig Meadows for their ongoing support of RSVP.