By Joyce Rudolph
Retired volunteers bring years of experience with them as they donate time to 50 nonprofit and public agencies. The 618 volunteers in Burbank’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program provided 122,130 hours of service from Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015. Nine volunteers recognized for 4,000 hours.
Retirees like Mickey DePalo are applying the skills they learned on the job to their volunteer experiences.
DePalo, a member of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), retired from the city of Burbank in 2008. He started his career in 1965 with the Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Department and worked in the Sports Office coordinating boy’s baseball, basketball and flag football leagues.
Within three weeks after retiring, he started his volunteer career coaching the cross country and track and field teams at Loyola High School. He also helps organize more than 400 athletes who participate in the annual CareWalk for Family Service Agency and more than 2,000 runners who support the YMCA Turkey Trot each year.
DePalo has volunteered for six years on the Burbank Park and Recreation Board. Its members research and advise the City Council and city staff on new projects like the renovations of the Starlight Bowl and Johnny Carson Park.
His years as an employee of the parks department, he said, helps him in this position.
“Through prior work experiences everybody has something to offer to help enhance the quality of life in Burbank,” he said.
DePalo is a Vietnam veteran. He serves as chair of the Burbank Veterans Committee that partners with city staff to produce the Veterans Day and Memorial Day commemorative programs at McCambridge Park. The committee also helps Keller Williams Realty produce the Hands Across the Battlefield effort to package and mail 800 boxes of supplies to troops serving overseas. The project was started by highly decorated Vietnam veteran the late Marc Cutter and his wife, Karen.
DePalo also volunteers as a member of the Veterans Coalition that serves Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and La Crescenta. It is a networking program that makes contact with other veterans organizations and coordinates veterans ceremonies, benefits and everything that is related to veterans issues.
Ann Franklin worked in human resources for years and finished her career at Warner Bros. Studios. She’s using her interviewing skills now to select candidates for the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Volunteer Department.
She decided to volunteer at the medical center as a way to give back after her husband received excellent care there, she said.
“It’s fun talking to people and getting them involved in volunteering,” she said.
DePalo and Franklin were honored alongside hundreds of others enrolled in the city’s RSVP program during the annual recognition luncheon hosted by the RSVP Advisory Council at Lakeside Golf Club.
With the support of the city of Burbank and the Burbank Volunteer Program, the event honors the volunteers who give countless hours of service to the Burbank community and who exemplify compassion and kindness through their volunteerism, said program Director Dee Call.
At the luncheon, volunteers ranging in ages from 55 to 101 were presented awards for five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service. In addition, nine individuals received the President’s Call to Service Award for volunteering more than 4,000 hours. They are Lorraine Arruda, Mickey DePalo, Marian Enos, Ann Franklin, Kaye Norris, Frances Shrock, Betty Uebel, Margarita Weiss and Anne White.
In addition, Grace Mylroie Patz was recognized as RSVP’s oldest volunteer. She will celebrate her 102nd birthday on Christmas Day.
The Volunteer Luncheon is organized and paid for each year by the RSVP Advisory Council. Council members raise money for the luncheon by selling refreshments at the Joslyn Adult Center Cafe during the week and through the annual health fair, Call said. This year more than 360 volunteers attended the luncheon.
The 618 volunteers in Burbank’s RSVP program provided 122,130 hours of service to more than 50 nonprofits and public agencies from Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015, Call said.
A symbolic check for $3,281,646 was presented to the city of Burbank and represented how many hours of service the volunteers provide to the city. The calculations for hourly volunteer service are determined by Independent Sector, which is a national organization of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs.
RSVP falls under the umbrella of the Burbank Volunteer Program (BVP), which also tracks hours of volunteers under age 55, including high school students who receive class credit for volunteer service. The total number of volunteers in both programs is 800, Call said.