BY Lindsay Owens
---- — MONTGOMERY- Well over 400 volunteers were honored Monday during the 40th Annual Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Recognition Celebration held at the Gasthof Amish Restuarant and Betty Mathias was named the 2013 Volunteer of the Year
RSVP Executive Director Kim Herbertz said that this year 421 volunteers contributed over 88,700 hours of service to communities in Daviess and Martin counties in the last year.
"The more volunteer opportunities were added, the more RSVP volunteers responded," Herbertz said.
This year 47 volunteers each serving 500 hours or more in past 12 months were honored including Judi Alexander-Hill, Faryl Armstrong, Rose Arney, Linda Bennett, Lisa Bland, Jeannie Burks, Betty Cannon, Margaret Clauss, JoAnne DeVries, Shirley Dillon, Barbara Fish, Beth Franklin, Barb Fyffe, Laura Jean Gilbert, Martha Greene, Carol Gregory, Nancy Haag, MarCella Hardwick, Kay Hedrick, Sharon Hite, Betty Huelsman, Charlene Johnson, Carolyn Jones, Patricia Joyce, PK Kane, Joe Kilps, Susanne Kinnett, Gary Lamb, Joyce Lamb, Fay Ledbetter, Barbara Martin, Jerry McDonald, Rae Ann Mills, Rex Myers, Ethna O'Haver, Terry O'Haver, Sheila O'Maley, Daniel Renneker, Elaine Renoire, Cheryle Ritchey, Lois Schnarr, Emma Silcock, Sarah Spalding, Jan Steimel, Sandra Traylor, Pat Trowbridge, Charles Wickman, and Shirley Zehr.
RSVP Board of Directors President Betty Huelsman then announced Mathias as the 2013 Volunteer of the Year.
Mathias was selected this year's winner from a pool of very worthy volunteers. "It's a responsibility that we take very seriously and is difficult each year because there are so many people who do so many great things," said Huelsman.
RSVP has only been keeping track of the cumulative volunteer hours since 2003 but Herbertz and Huelsman estimate that over the course of the last 28 years, Mathias has contributed over 10,000 hours. Last year she accumulated 452 hours between volunteering at Feed My Sheep's monthly food distribution. Daviess Community Hospital and the Daviess County Health Department. Mathias also donated her time to work at the Reality Store, the Washington Wine, Art and Cheese Festival, the Chamber of Commerce Dinner, and many other special events. She also volunteers at her church, Our Lady of Hope.
"I had no idea I was going to get the award," said Mathias, wiping a tear from her eye. "It's just such a surprise. It's go gratifying to be able to help people and you can go out and see people. I really enjoy what I do."
Herbertz said that earlier Monday Mathias had stopped in the RSVP office, located in Eastside Park to drop off her volunteers hours.
"We were a little panicky. We didn't want Betty to find out before it was announced at the dinner and ruin the surprise," said Herbertz. 'We just weren't expecting her to drop in."