Village Volunteers win Governor’s Outstanding Service Award

November 23, 2022

Village Volunteers representatives will receive a 2022 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award in a presentation ceremony set for Thursday, Dec. 1, in Newark.

The organization’s 140 volunteers in Milton, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach provide services that enable older adults to live independently for as long as possible.

This is the second such award for the organization founded in Lewes nine years ago; the first was received in 2017.

Village Volunteers members have amassed 4,800 hours this year helping the senior population in eastern Sussex County, the state’s announcement said, citing the group’s initiatives that include providing transportation to a variety of services seniors need. Village Volunteers gives peace of mind to family members who live far away and are not able to help with the day-to-day needs of their loved ones.

In total, nine individuals and six groups in Delaware were recognized for exceptional contributions and outstanding dedication to service and volunteerism. Two other organizations in Sussex County will also be honored: the Good Ole Boy Foundation, which provides emergency services to children and families in distress, and the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation Volunteer Corps for its multilingual live performances and art kits for local schoolchildren.

Jackie Sullivan, Village Volunteers executive director, expressed surprise and pride when she learned that her organization was being honored for a second time. “This is a gift not only of recognition but also credibility as we enter our 10th year helping older adults live independently with the dignity they deserve,” she said.

She said she was aware of the nomination for the 2017 award, but not this one. “Barbara Brush nominated us and kept it quiet. We didn’t know we were being considered until we received word from Diane Frebert, administrator in the state’s Office of Volunteerism.”

Sullivan said volunteers appreciate the freedom to choose their hours, as well as what they wish to do to help members, which she sums up as “Your time, your skills, your way.”

“As the requests for our assistance grow weekly, it always means we need to attract new volunteers,” she said.

Brush said the Village provides an important service for the community. “I see it every day as I interact with members, not just for the practical things volunteers do, like taking members to doctor appointments, assisting with food shopping and providing tech support, but also for the social interaction it affords some people who feel isolated after they stop driving. It also gives me peace of mind knowing that when the time comes, Village Volunteers will be there for me as I age in my home.”

News of the Governor’s Award came on the heels of a luncheon sponsored by AARP Delaware Oct. 29 for Village Volunteers and South Coastal Village Volunteers, whose 80 volunteers serve older adults in Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Millville and Ocean View.

“Their work to help their neighbors is right in line with AARP’s mission to help people choose how they want to live as they age,” said Sheila Grant, AARP Delaware associate state director of advocacy. “We’re inspired by the dedication to their work.”

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