Nearly 70 seniors, ranging in age from 55 – 91, were saluted on Friday for their volunteer work at a luncheon for the Social Development Commission’s (SDC) Senior Companion Program. The program started in 1974, when SDC was one of 18 pilot programs across the nation. Senior Companions provide a free service to nearly 400 fellow Milwaukee County seniors and disabled adults to help them remain in their homes.
The Senior Companions were thanked for their efforts in 2014 which included helping prepare more than 6,700 meals, aiding with 3,500 light housekeeping tasks, and more than 2,300 outings. The trained volunteers also escort clients on walks, facilitate shopping trips, and provide assistance with medical appointments and more.
Stephanie Findley, vice-chair of the Social Development Commission’s Board of Commissioners extended her gratitude to the Senior Companions for their commitment to not only the community but to those clients who may not otherwise have the ability to leave their homes.
George Hinton, SDC’s CEO, praised the volunteers for the positive influence they have on the lives of so many seniors. Hinton emphasized the tremendous impact their efforts have on changing the lives of those they provide services and companionship to.
Five of the Senior Companions who are military veterans were recognized in a special pinning ceremony thanking them their continued service to our country. Pastor Calhoun of Grace Fellowship Church and Hinton presented pins to the veterans. Calhoun served in the United States Navy for 12 years and Hinton is veteran of the United States Marine.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award was bestowed upon 21 Senior Companions that have offered five years or more of volunteer service to the program. India McCanse, State Director of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and SDC CEO George Hinton, presented each with a letter from President Obama, a framed certificate, and a special pin recognizing their volunteerism.
Those in attendance were treated to a wonderful keynote speech by longtime TMJ-4 anchor and reporter Charles Benson. Benson shared personal inspirations he drew from his own life and how inspired he was by the work of the Senior Companions. He applauded them for the companionship they provide and their commitment to the community.
Seniors age 55 and older who wish to join the program or who need its service can call 414.906.2779.