Celebrating Our Volunteers
Every year, The Gathering Place has the honor of recognizing and saying thank you to our volunteers at the annual volunteer tea. The staff looks forward to this time every year, so that we can, in a small way, give back to them for giving so much of themselves and their time to The Gathering Place. There are over 350 volunteers who donate more than 10,000 hours to support our mission each year. Their presence is a tremendous part of what makes The Gathering Place a warm and welcoming environment. There is something very special and unique about TGP volunteers. For all the various big jobs and small tasks they do, we thank them. For their flexibility and fine attention to the innumerable details we assign we thank them. For all the ways they share their skills, warm smiles and open hearts, we thank them.
During the annual tea, we recognize volunteers who have gone above and beyond the tireless commitment they already make to TGP with the Gail Gordon Volunteer of the Year award. This year we honored Gae Reimer (TGP West) and Phyllis Fine (TGP East).
Phyllis was recognized this year because she gives in so many different ways, sometimes working a few days a week at the front desk and our warehouse. She's worked so much over the past 3 years that the hours are too many to count. In 2015 alone she has already worked 150 hours. She consistently tells us that she gets more out of volunteering than we get from her. It is with love and gratitude that we present Phyllis Fine with the 2015 Gail Gordon Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award.
Gae has a very modest and unassuming nature and so being recognized came as quite a shock to her. Many of Gae's peers felt that she would be a great volunteer to honor this year and all the staff agreed. Gae has a kind and gentle spirit, a truly warm and compassionate heart, and from that sweet place she gives of herself unconditionally to TGP --- in so many ways. Since she first joined us in 2012, she has volunteered weekly as a greeter at the front desk, and since 2012 has been a devoted volunteer for the Bridges Bereavement Children’s program, twice a month. She has also volunteered her time at Animal Camp every summer since 2012, working 40-hours during camp week, which means she takes vacation time from her job to do that. It was our great honor and privilege to name Gae as the 2015 Westlake recipient of the Gail Gordon Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award.
This year, we also recognized volunteers who provide outreach for TGP with the Michael A. Jones Outstanding Outreach Volunteer of the Year Award. These volunteers share information with the community about our programs and services and are ambassadors for TGP. Sometimes they are the first contact that the community has with our organization. These volunteers go to events all over Northeast Ohio during the day, in the evening and on weekends. They help us talk to over 7,000 people each year. The four volunteers honored this year are Nancy Davidson (TGP East), Rich Burand (TGP East), Gloria Riffie (TGP West) and Sandy Scott (TGP West).
Gloria has been volunteering with TGP for many, many years and became our outreach “go-to girl”. On the west side, Gloria did many outreach events from the day we opened in 2008. East side, west side, Parma-events where she didn’t even speak the language…over the years Gloria has taken on multiple events each month. And the best part is she always take the time after each event to chat with us, telling us how many people she talked to, the stories she heard and her suggestions. Gloria is passionate about TGP and its mission, and we have reached so many people thanks to her! We thank and recognize Gloria for all the years, time and miles she has devoted to us.
Nancy is a long-time volunteer and embodies the essence of what this new outreach award is about-recognizing outreach volunteers who are willing to go anywhere to reach everyone, a volunteer who is passionate about TGP and its mission, and who is engaged and engaging. Nancy truly understands how important it is for people in every community to know about TGP.
Rich came to us to volunteer in 2013 and has been an unstoppable outreach force ever since. Rich is so passionate about TGP and its mission that he will take on as many events as he is able to do, and at the same time he is busy thinking about additional outreach events we haven’t thought of. Rich always goes out of his way to engage attendees at each event, and does an amazing job reporting details of each one. Rich is also a Speaker’s Bureau outreach volunteer, and did such an outstanding job at a recent event for Postal Carriers that over 20 attendees called mentioning Rich’s name and wanting to volunteer with TGP. With his infectious laugh, warmth and outstanding dedication to our mission and the outreach program in general, it was an honor to recognize Rich Burand.
Sandy was one of the first volunteers from the westside to receive the Gail Gordon Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009. She is truly passionate about TGP, and always enthusiastically spreads the word about our programs & services. She promotes the mission effortlessly, and has often given leads for events, in addition to setting up a table at her local bank branch in Strongsville twice a year, and at her church in Middleburg Heights. She loves doing outreach, and she is willing to go anywhere – east or west- to do an event. She writes comprehensive reports after each event, and emails copies to the staff the day after. Since 2010, Sandy has also served as an Outreach Ambassador, delivering materials to several physicians and community locations in the southwest suburbs. It is our pleasure to recognize her this year as one of our Outstanding Outreach Volunteers of the Year.
A special thanks to Liz Krantz and Lynn Lubben, our outstanding volunteer coordinators, who do such a fantastic job each year of planning the tea and taking on the very difficult task of deciding which of our amazing volunteers to honor each year.
Phyllis Fine wasn't able to attend the volunteer tea so Phyllis' family, close friends and the TGP staff surprised her with the award at The
Gathering Place in Beachwood.
See us surpise Phyllis.
Click here to see photos from this year's volunteer tea that was held at the home of one of our very gracious and giving board members, Jill Schwartz.
This year, the TGP staff regaled our volunteers with a rendition of You Light Up My Life with special lyrics written by our multi-talented medical librarian, Eileen Coan. Check out the video clip.