A group of Rocky Mountain Village staff and residents revealed their volunteer appreciation banner for National Volunteer Week on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. The four residents in the front, from left to right, are: Louise Gentile, Elinor Siska, Everett Evans, and Janet Gowanlock. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

A group of Rocky Mountain Village staff and residents revealed their volunteer appreciation banner for National Volunteer Week on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. The four residents in the front, from left to right, are: Louise Gentile, Elinor Siska, Everett Evans, and Janet Gowanlock. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

‘It makes our life here more meaningful’: Rocky Mountain Village residents share their love for volunteers

Volunteers are slowly starting to return for in-person visits following a COVID hiatus

Rocky Mountain Village (RMV) residents showed their appreciation Wednesday (April 20) for the volunteers who keep them company, despite a pandemic hiatus on in-person visits that has only recently begun to wane.

When resident Elinor Siska was asked what it’s like without volunteers at the facility, her answer was stark.

“It’s terrible, really terrible,” she said.

“Volunteers are very helpful, and they do their job. They help everybody.”

Staff and residents came together to reveal their second banner for National Volunteer Week, running from April 24 to 30 this year.

The first banner was put together last year as a replacement for the usual ways RMV has celebrated their volunteers in the past.

Before the pandemic, over 80 volunteers used to stop by for visits with the seniors, said RMV recreation therapist, Shelley Moulton.

Through COVID, interactions with volunteers were limited to zoom and phone calls.

“It wasn’t the same as having them here in person,” Moulton said.

About a month ago, however, volunteers started to return for visits. But the numbers aren’t half of what they used to be, and limitations are still in place.

Moulton hopes that as the months go on, more will return, and some of their larger events can happen.

“Slowly, it’s starting to come back.”

Resident Everett Evans said that if it wasn’t for the volunteers, “I don’t think we’d have the amenities we have.”

Beyond amenities, Evans spoke about what it feels like when a volunteer visits and sits with him.

“It makes our life here more meaningful. And you get a feeling that you are noticed, that you mean something. You have value.”

“I certainly appreciate them for all they do for us.”

Moulton said volunteers provide an “invaluable service,” and add to the quality of life for residents.

“We appreciate all that they do, and we hope to see them all come back soon.”

READ MORE: ‘We can’t wait for you to come back’: Rocky Mountain Village residents show appreciation for volunteers

READ MORE: ‘We have such a good group here’: Local senior keeps head held high throughout pandemic


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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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