To the Editor,
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Annual Appreciation Lunch meeting at the Madawaska Senior Citizen Center was a wonderful opportunity to see incredible people living the principle of helping one another.
More than 35 sites in the St. John Valley have space for citizen volunteers.
Among the honorees were 97-year old Madame Roselle Hébert and 90-year old Cora Caron who still find ways to help at their assisted living facility. Mrs. Rella Pelletier Daigle, 92, is still putting her hours in at the Good Samaritan Shop in Fort Kent. She says she finally stopped cooking 25-pound turkeys for fundraisers and funeral buffets when she had to go door to door in her neighborhood to find a man to do the heavy lifting. The last time Mr. Leo Boulay, another RSVP volunteer, came to her rescue, but now her volunteer projects require less heavy lifting.
Earlier, Mrs. Daigle had told her seatmates that if she could have the very same life over, it is the only way she’d want to go around again. The loss of her daughter in a car accident after her daughter had just graduated from college, her husband after years of marriage, and her eight siblings is the exception to that premise. The last survivor in her birth family, Rella credits Dr. James Harris for helping her sustain her health into her ninth decade. Her children, Bea Daigle and Myrna Voisine, and circle of friends bring her much joy, too.
Mélanie Saucier, who has a great history of volunteer service herself despite her young years, summarized the day’s festivities when she capped off her program with a brilliant rendition of Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien.” It could well be the theme song of our many elderly who have a lifetime of service to others.
Mrs. Hebert, Mrs. Caron and Mrs. Daigle are only three of the hundred RSVP volunteers serving the St. John Valley. The organization works with time, interest and expertise.
Judy Ayotte Paradis