Volunteer: noun; a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

It takes a special kind of person to be a volunteer — someone who will give of their time and talents for the benefi t of others never mind that they aren’t getting a paycheck in return. In a day and age when folks are busy running helter skelter, shuffl ing kids here and there and are often overwhelmed with the details of their own lives, volunteering can sometimes be at the bottom of their to-do list, if it even makes the list at all.

Cumberland County Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has a treasure trove of volunteers who make contributions to the community daily, doing a variety of things like delivering meals to the homebound, tutoring, serving as a guardian ad litem, working in the arts community, at local museums and for local government agencies and that is just scratching the surface. In fact, in 2010 alone, 575 volunteers worked 108,903 hours which, had they been paid, would have cost the community $2,270627.50.

On April 15, RSVP honored Cora Lee Atkins as their Volunteer of the year. The banquest was held in the Snyder Memorial Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Mary Brymer-Chanza was the mistress of ceremonies.

“She is an outstanding volunteer,” said RSVP director Judy Dawkins. “All of our volunteers are, they are all priceless. They serve our community so well.”

Atkins has been volunteering on a local and state-ide basis for years. She joined RSVP in 2003 where she has helped to ensure the highest quality of life not only for seniors but all residents of Cumberland County.

Her volunteer service includes: rreasurer of the Loyal Seniors for eight years; vice-president of the Coffee Club for one year; Spring Lake Senior Club Board Member for five years; Area A Senior Club president for four years, District II Assistant Treasurer for two years; District II chairperson for two years; and North Carolina Association of Senior Citizen Clubs assistant treasurer for two years.

Atkins is a member of the Senior Road Runners Club in addition to being a Fayetteville- Cumberland Senior Center Ambassador where she plays a vital role in the implementation of the center’s travel program as well as assisting with other primary program facilitation functions.

She has served in the Cumberland County School System, Fay-Cumberland Chambe04-20-11-rsvp.jpgr of Commerce, Cross Creek Welcome Center, and as a Training Coordinator for Mid- Carolina Council of Governments. However, her major volunteer activities are at the Fayetteville-Cumberland Senior Center, where she participates in the center’s “Hands Thru Time” — a program that works to provide intergenerational programming for Cumberland County youth. She also serves as the caller for the center’s Bingo program and as a club offi cer. Atkins can be counted on to assist by either offering her time or by recruiting fellow seniors to participate at a moment’s notice! She continuously gives of herself, her time and her talents to help others.

PHOTO: RSVP volunteers gather each year to celebrate their accomplishments and to honor one of their own.

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