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Volunteers thanked at Alzheimer & Parkinson Appreciation Breakfast

VERO BEACH — As anyone who has ever worked with a non-profit can attest, volunteers are truly the lifeblood of the organization.  Volunteers with the Alzheimer & Parkinson Association of Indian River County were thanked for their dedication and tireless service at a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at the Oak Harbor Clubhouse this morning.

Joyce (Joy) McKay Steggles sponsored the bountiful breakfast buffet on behalf of her late husband, John Steggles.  He became an advocate for the organization during his first wife’s struggles with Alzheimer’s and this past April, the Pamela Rosemary Steggles Activity Center at the new Alzheimer & Parkinson Center was dedicated in her memory. Addressing the group, Executive Director Peggy Cunningham said, “Volunteers – you are love in motion; we celebrate you.  You are making a difference in lives that have been touched by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

She stressed that the organization’s programs and services, including health fairs, classes, Project Lifesaver, fundraisers the newsletter and others, are primarily driven by volunteers.

“We rely on our volunteers day after day; year after year” said Cunningham.

Board President George Bryan introduced and thanked his fellow volunteer board members and spoke briefly about the push for Home and Community Based services such as the Alzheimer & Parkinson Association.  He also stressed the importance of speaking out on issues that affect the community saying, “The fact is, we have to care for our own; we’re custodians for the future.”

Cunningham thanked several people for their continued passion and commitment including former Executive Director Carolyn Veeneman who has continued her association as a volunteer, receptionist Carol Smalley, also who regularly volunteers when needed and Joy Steggles, who, she said, understands the power of philanthropy and the power of volunteers.

Unfortunately, none of the others who were to be recognized for their services were able to attend the function.  But, at the request of one of the recipients, Cunningham was recording the event on her iPhone.  “We have an app for that,” she said with a laugh.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented in absentia to Bubs Baird.  Cunningham commented that Baird had participated in memory screening, health fairs, exercise and art classes, Project Lifesaver, the Walk to Remember, Day of Hope and, more importantly, was the organization’s “go-to” person.

Special Recognition was given to Marian Wenzel and Allan Ballard for being a thread for the organization throughout its history and for their devoted work setting up and manning tables at all the health fairs.

Board member Sandi Larson closed out the morning with a raffle drawing and a mention of the organization’s major fundraiser, the Walk to Remember, scheduled for Saturday, November 13, 2010.  The easy 5K Walk inside Riverside Park is currently seeking teams, sponsors and volunteers. {igallery 200}

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