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The Legacy Senior Communities recently held a special event to recognize the individuals and groups who dedicated their time during the past year to enhance the lives of those served by the not-for-profit organization. In 2017, over 350 volunteers spent an estimated total of 6,700 hours serving seniors and team members across The Legacy Senior Communities. The organization’s volunteer program has a wide variety of options for those who want to get involved at The Legacy Willow Bend life care retirement community, or through the organization’s home health agency, The Legacy at Home. Whether volunteering as an individual or in a group, no act of service is taken for granted, as volunteers provide an extraordinary gift of their quality time. The annual event, co-chaired by Nonie Schwartz and Marilyn Schwartz, included an awards ceremony during which Rivae Campo, volunteer coordinator for The Legacy Senior Communities, announced the “Rookie of the Year Award,” the “Outstanding Volunteer Group Awards,” “Outstanding Musical Volunteer Group,” “Outstanding Pet Visitor” and “Administrative Volunteer.” Ivonne Walker was named “Volunteer of the Year” for the second time because of natural ability to work with seniors and her sincere desire to help residents and team members.

Additionally, for the fourth year in a row Campo gave special recognition to The Legacy Willow Bend’s own knitting and crochet club, The Ladies of The Legacy Willow Bend. The members of the club come together each week to knit and crochet beautiful hats and scarves for those in need throughout Greater Dallas. Each year, the group’s production numbers increase tremendously, from last year’s whopping 3,200 items to the more than 3,500 pieces which were donated this year to 10 local organizations. Campo also recognized the senior living community’s Mahjong volunteers, The Maj Ladies, who visit the community each week on Thursday afternoons to spend time with residents and facilitate Mahjong games. For volunteer Susan Preston, these weekly interactions are special opportunities to continue building relationships with residents at the community.

“Having the opportunity to spend time each week with these ladies has been a joy in my life,” said Preston. “I began volunteering at the community eight years ago after my mother moved in, and I continue to volunteer even after her passing. It helps me build such wonderful relationships, and I don’t want that to change. It’s an incredible feeling to spend time with these ladies, and it does me and the other volunteers just as much good to see them as it does for them to see us. Together we’ve celebrated birthdays and run errands and – really more than anything – built real friendships. It’s a close-knit group, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”

The “Rookie of the Year” award was presented to Claire Pettigrew for dedicating her time to serving others. Between her academic studies and other volunteer obligations, Pettigrew continues to give 12 hours a week to memory care residents at The Legacy Willow Bend. Similarly, two amazing volunteer groups were honored as “Outstanding Volunteer Group.” The Special Education - ATS Program at Plano East Senior High School (PESH) was represented by Jeannette Henderson. Henderson visits the community with her students where they assist in various activities that help the students learn new skills. The award was also given to the Plano Family YMCA, after the group visited the community to volunteer in various programs and activities.

Additionally, “Outstanding Musical Volunteer Group“ awards were presented to Love to Share and The Bluebonnets Performances Group for visiting monthly to perform for residents. Further, Mindy Cherkin was recognized as “Outstanding Pet Visitor” and Jane Shook for “Administrative Volunteer.” Finally, Ivonne Walker was honored as “Volunteer of the Year” for the second consecutive year.

“We are incredibly grateful for all of our volunteers and their selflessness,” said Campo. “Every day we have the opportunity to see how they impact the lives of residents in ways big and small, and we couldn’t imagine what we would do without them. Each volunteer is an integral part of the service we provide, and we are humbled by their willingness to give of themselves each day.”