The Town of Riverhead used National Volunteer Week to honour some of its long time volunteers earlier this month.
VOCM Open Line host Paddy Daley, whose father hailed from Riverhead, served as guest speaker for the event.
Riverhead Mayor Sheila Lee said about 80 people attended the dinner, including about 20 who don’t actually live in the community, but who contribute to it.
Lee used her speech to contrast the volunteerism of years ago with the style of volunteerism today to show that people in rural areas have always extended a hand when needed. “In my community, there were no organizations like the Legion, or recreation committees, or council,” explained Lee, who grew up farther down the bay. About the only volunteer groups that existed were ones connected to the parish, she explained. “But then I thought about all the good deeds that people did for each other in those days to help each other out, even to the point of staying up in the nighttime when someone was dying to help a family out.”
Lee also used the occasion to read a chapter from her first book, which highlighted the contribution of one of Riverhead’s earlier citizens. It was about a midwife, who happened to be Daley’s grandmother, and was written by the woman’s daughter and granddaughter.
“You could hear a pin drop the whole time I was reading the story,” said Lee. “I had their attention right from the beginning. It was so appropriate.”
Daley asked for a copy of the story to take home to share with his sons.
Leaders of local community groups were also invited to give a synopsis of their activities “to give a sense of all the great stuff that is happening through volunteers,” Lee added.
Placentia – St. Mary’s MHA Felix Collins presented certificates to some local volunteers in recognition of their efforts.