VOLUNTEER VIEW: RSVP taps seniors and retired persons to help the community

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program was established in 1971 and had about 3,500 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. You can use the skills and talents you’ve learned over the years, or develop new ones while serving in a variety of volunteer activities within your community. Service opportunities are as diverse as the communities in which volunteers serve and may include: tutoring and mentoring youth; assisting victims of natural disasters; assisting the local food banks in getting food to seniors; giving rides to our service veterans for medical appointments, performing small chores so that seniors can stay in their homes, and being a handyman for seniors on small home projects.

Volunteer highlights: Bert Isackson was presented with the “President’s Lifetime of Service Award” signed by President Obama. Bert is the first Whatcom County resident to receive this award. He is a life-long resident of Blaine and a retired commercial fisherman. He just turned 100 years old on Dec. 8, 2014. Because of his dedication, the first ever “Bert Isackson Award” was presented to Bert by Angela Murray, executive director of The Volunteer Center of Whatcom County on Jan. 23, 2015 in Blaine. This award was to honor Bert for his life-long achievement of volunteering more than 10,500 hours for the Blaine Food Bank, through the RSVP program of The Volunteer Center. The Bert Isackson Award will now be given annually to an outstanding volunteer who resides in Whatcom County and who reflects dedication, persistence, compassion and altruistic qualities that Bert himself has displayed over the years.

Signature fundraiser: Oktoberfest, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sept. 18 at Depot Market Square.

Wish list: I wish all the retired and seniors who live in Whatcom County and want a better and healthier life would call me to volunteer. Giving of one’s time and skills comes back to you tenfold over.

Volunteer needs: Volunteers who can visit seniors on a weekly basis and help them out with daily chores, disaster preparedness volunteers, volunteers to help the county food banks, handyman volunteers for small projects, and tutoring and mentoring volunteers.

For more information, go online to whatcomvolunteer.org/programs/rsvp.