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City awards volunteers for service

Date: 4/28/2009

By Ashlene Ferris

Staff Intern

WESTFIELD Every helping hand can make a difference with budget cuts on the horizon. The city of Westfield honored volunteers for their hard work and service.

Mayor Michael Boulanger awarded two volunteers, Barbara Messier and Jack Wolfe, for their service in the city's volunteer network during National Volunteer Appreciation Week last week.

Wolfe, recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award and coordinator of the Pastoral Program at Noble Hospital, said he's humbled by the award.

"The main thing being recognized [today] is the pastoral program at Noble Hospital," he said. "I started the program and built it up. There are eight other volunteers and we're doing wonderful things by helping patients everyday."

The city of Westfield offers hundreds of volunteer opportunities for all schedules and interests.

Barbara Trant, volunteer coordinator for Volunteers in Public Schools of Westfield (VIPS), said it was a difficult task choosing the two award winners.

"We want to acknowledge the great work all the volunteers do," she said. "There were 14 people nominated; the mayor probably had to [flip] a coin to decide because they are all such wonderful people."

Boulanger said the volunteers set the community to a high standard, making Westfield a desirable place to live because of their dedication and efforts.

"The volunteer program is going to enhance [the community]," he said. "We really need to find volunteers and continue to stay strong and grow [so] we're in good shape."

The non-profit Volunteer Network of Greater Westfield urges people to think about volunteering at one of the many agencies available.

The list of volunteer opportunities includes, but is not limited to, clerical and administrative, technological, marketing and public relations, artistic, fundraising and retail. The non-profit organizations of Westfield offer the opportunity to volunteer on a long term basis or for a day at a special event.

Further information about VIPS can be found by logging onto /index.