Care One Center honors volunteers

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – More than 50 volunteers and organizations were honored at the annual Volunteer Reception at the Care One Care Center on Route 36 at a gala wine and hors d’oeuvres reception in the Center Dining Room Tuesday night.

Activities Director Kathy Kane introduced each of the men and women as well as the organizations who through the years have given untold volunteer hours in a unique variety of ways to assist the 120 residents at the long term and rehabilitation center.

“Whether you are here to help b ring residents from one activity to other, here to say the rosary, give communion, or present musical programs, whether you’re here with a therapy dog, or in any other capacity, you all bring smiles and laughter to the faces of our residents, “Kane said, “you are definitely all part of our family and we sincerely appreciate each of you.”

Among individuals honored was Mary Ann Popko, of Leonardo, who is not only a volunteer but enjoyed her time here so much she applied for and received a part time position as well. “That doesn’t stop her from coming back as a volunteer every Monday night for Bingo,” Kane said. Also honored were Pam Fowler, who conducts Bingo on Tuesday nights, Sharon Merritt, who helps plan and carry out parties and special events, Emily Fitzpatrick, who says the rosary every Thursday, ombudsman Al Peskoe, and Michael D’Amore, who Kane said, “is everyone from the Easter Bunny to Santa Claus, to the man on Stilts to a leprechaun; we never know when he’s going to show up, we just know we’ll all have a great time.”

Among the organizations and their members honored were the Kelly Dance Loft of Atlantic Highlands, the Vincent Lombardi Council of the Knights of Columbus, St Agnes/Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church Eucharistic ministers, Missionaries and members of Jehovah’s Witness in Leonardo, the Highlands Community Singers, Quinn Chapel, and Donna and Paul Worth, who bring their schnauzer, Jackie, and Elise Kendell who brings her golden retriever Jack, both trained and certified pet dogs.

Kane said that over the 15 years they have been conducting a volunteer appreciation evening; more than 1,000 volunteers have been honored. Many, she said, including Knight of Columbus Lou D’Agostino, have been coming for all or most of those years.

Care Center Administrator Carolyn Zeh gave a special welcome to the volunteers, thanked them for their volunteers and expressed the positive impact their volunteerism has on the residents.