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Random Observations by Pat Ostrye

Volunteers, The Heart of the Community!

      I had planned to add my own "profound" reflections about Global hunger, the skyrocketing food prices and the thousands of layoffs as portrayed in today's L.A. Times.  Then came this invitation from the City of Monrovia: At the top of the invite: Volunteers, The Heart of the Community!  "In appreciation for your services to the Community, The Monrovia Volunteer Center and the CIty of Monrovia together with the Mayor and City Council, are pleased to honor you at the Annual Volunteers Recognition Luncheon, Thursday, May 1st, 2008, 11:30am to 1:30 pm."  I will mention, each volunteer has to have banked at least 52 hours for the year.

    There wil be hundreds of volunteers on deck because in small towns (Monrovia's population is nearing 40,000 at the present time), volunteering becomes a way of life for most of us no matter at what age.  One of the main attractions for this annual event is the unique serving of the catered luncheon, provided by the VIPs of the city, including the Mayor, Council Members, Fire and Police Chiefs, the City Manager and directors of all departments.  And, of course, the suspense that has been building up for the many awards to be presented.

     The epiphany for this magnificent volunteer movement was the year leading up to the Monrovia Centennial in 1986-87.  Half the city was bogged down in meetings, tuna sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies for an entire year preparing for the numerous events that eventually evolved for the Big Day.  All of us became very tired of the one Victorian outfit that we managed to put together and I'm sure the community was tired of seeing us in the same regalia for over a year.

      The volunteer groups figured at that time that it would be foolish to disband when there was such momentum and so we moved on and on and on.  There are volunteers in every department at the City Hall.  I remember that there were two Maryknoll Sisters, one in the Police Dept. and one in Finance for years.  Parks and Recreation has many, many volunteers, also the Library, the Youth Center and the Boys and Girls clubs.  I began the Meals On Wheels program in January of 1975 with the help of the late Lou Petrie whose family owned the Monrovia Hospital at that time, and Kiwanis; the Hospital closed down about two years ago so Lisa Magno who has an Assisted Living License at the Leven Oaks Resident Hotel in the center of downtown, took it over.  Consequently, with the help of Pattie Tellez, director of the Volunteer Center housed in the Community Center, there has never been a day missed for delivering the meals.  

     Needless to say, the volunteers are looking forward to the upcoming occasion on May Day with great anticipation.

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