St. Clara’s Manor recognizes volunteers with heart at annual appreciation luncheon

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[April 26, 2017]  LINCOLN - On Tuesday, Judy Smith was named the Volunteer of the Year at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at St. Clara’s Manor. Smith was presented a plaque and other gifts by St. Clara’s Activity Director Rebecca Johnson.

The day began just before noon with a luncheon in honor of all the St. Clara’s volunteers. Approximately 15 were in attendance, which constitutes about half of the total number of individuals who visit St. Clara’s on a regular basis to volunteer for a variety of activities.

The volunteers at St. Clara’s do a lot to help make sure that all the residents at St. Clara’s feel loved and cared for. Tasks they perform may include anything from leading church and prayer services, playing cards or reading to residents, helping with resident parties and activities, doing hair and nails, providing special music, spending one-on-one time with residents and much more.

At the luncheon, after enjoying a meal provided by the staff at St. Clara’s, guests were invited to play a game. Johnson led the way, asking each one to write down a numerical answer to the questions she posed. Questions included scoring points for the number of rings being worn, the number of buttons, number of children, and number of years on this earth, just to name a few. In the end two volunteers tied for first place with a total that exceeded 150 points.

Following the game, there was a short talk given by Johnson. She began saying that the theme for the luncheon this year is “A heart for people.” She said that all the volunteers do what they do because they have a heart for people. She noted the words of a song; “I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart….down in my heart to stay.” Johnson said the song would go on to say “I have the love of Jesus down in my heart.” She said that it is the love of Jesus that gives us the joy we have ‘down in our heart.” And, it is that feeling of love that leads us to share love with others. Johnson noted she always turns to the Bible to lead her and in the Bible, the word love is mentioned 700 times, showing how important it is to love.

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Johnson noted that King Richard the Third was referred to as Richard the Lion Hearted because he was brave. The king had a brave heart, but what other kinds of hearts are there?

Sometimes we are heavy hearted, weighed down with stress and worry. Sometimes we are broken hearted with a great deal of sorrow in our hearts. There are those who are hard hearted who don’t appear to care for others.

Then there are those who are tender hearted, true hearted, and kind hearted. Those are the people who show compassion for others, who show love for others and are dedicated to others.

She concluded that all the volunteers have a heart for people, a heart that shows love and kindness.

Johnson then talked about the volunteer of the year, asking those who have already received that honor to raise their hands, then she joking said, there would be no repeats. This year the volunteer of the year would be Judy Smith.

As the day wound down, Tonita Reifsteck, who is a regular volunteer and also a member of the board of directors noted that this is possibly the last year the appreciation luncheon will be held at the Manor of Fifth Street. Construction of the new St. Clara’s Manor is well underway, and is expected to be open sometime in the spring of 2018.

Lyle Read also spoke up saying that as a volunteer, he appreciates all the work and dedication of Johnson and the staff who assist her in providing activities for the residents. Johnson in turn said that she could not do what she does without the help and dedication of her assistant Linda Bree, Marie Parr, and others.

Guests were invited to stay and visit as they wished, and as the event came to a close, each one present was given a small gift of appreciation; a heart shaped ornament with a lapel pin tucked inside that said “Volunteers are the heart of our team.”

[Nila Smith]

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