The Woodbridge Human Services Department celebrated the contributions of the town’s volunteers with a reception at the annual Volunteer Tea Thursday, May 9.
This year 133 volunteers were honored at the event. They ranged from individuals who made a difference in people’s lives to business entities such as Emeritus and the Jewish Community Center, which helped the town during the power outages of the past years.
Pat Crisco, wife of State Senator Joe Crisco, presented them with certificates of appreciation in recognition of exemplary volunteer services.
Edee Lockyer was recognized as an outstanding volunteer for her dedication to the Senior Center lunch program.
“Edee is always there helping in any capacity that is needed while she brings enthusiasm and energy to the Senior Center Lunch Program,” said Human Services Director Mary Ellen LaRocca in presenting the certificate. Lockyer also volunteers for the Woodbridge Recreation Department and the Veteran’s Hospital in West Haven.
Tom Blackman also was recognized for his commitment to the Senior lunch program.
“Tom is friendly, well-liked by all,” LaRocca said. “Tom is always there helping in any capacity that is needed.”
Volunteering seems to be part of his DNA, as Blackman previously helped out in the Cranston, R.I. Senior Center in the same capacity before coming to Woodbridge.
Susan Davidson has been a member of the Human Services Commission since July 2011. She has helped with several Human Services projects such as the Warm Hearts Warm Homes Fundraiser, the American Heart Association Heart Walk-Team Woodbridge and the December Holiday Basket Program. In addition she volunteered at the Town’s Emergency Shelter after Hurricane Sandy.
“Susan is being honored for her compassion, dedication and commitment as a volunteer,” LaRocca said. Susan Davidson has exemplified the true spirit of caring and giving as a volunteer.
Lisa Bacchiocchi has been a Friendly Visitor to a Woodbridge senior for the past seven years.
“A strong, loving bond has been formed,” LaRocca said.
Even Lisa’s husband has been a source of support and care to this Woodbridge resident. Though her charge now resides in an extended care facility, Bacchiocchi has continued to be a friend by visiting often.
“The Human Services Department admires her dedication, selflessness, and commitment to reach out to others,” LaRocca said.
Elsie Vavrek started volunteering as a Friendly Visitor in 2001 and was named an outstanding volunteer in 2004. She now volunteers with three seniors each week, which is a big commitment.
“They all love her smile, friendly disposition, and remarkable listening skills,” LaRocca said. “Her commitment to seniors in Woodbridge and her modesty about her work are an inspiration to all who know her.”
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance volunteers were honored for their dedication and effort to assist local seniors with their taxes. This is a free tax assistance program in which the volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS.
The VITA program has been part of the Woodbridge Senior Center for the past 3 years. The program has grown by leaps and bounds. The Senior Center has four preparers, Mariano De Gregorio, Larry Handler, David Learned and Vincent Spino.