Senior citizens who are busy volunteers recognized for service

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2016 at 12:00 am
Wayne Litchfield and Betty Jennings

Photo by Tom Rivers – Wayne Litchfield greets Betty Jennings of Albion during a luncheon on Friday when Litchfield when honored for his volunteer service. Jennings said Litchfield is “an extra-special person.”

KNOWLESVILLE – Since retiring about three years ago as an Orleans County dispatcher, a job he was devoted to for 28 years, Wayne Litchfield has poured himself into numerous community causes, volunteering as a mentor in the Just Friends program, a master gardener, visitor and friend to Hospice patients, sound technician at church, coordinator for emergency preparedness, board member for non-profits and many other efforts.

Litchfield, a Medina resident, said the roles have enriched his life. He was honored on Friday during an Office for the Aging luncheon attended by 200 people.

Litchfield urged the group of seniors to stay busy.

“Volunteering is a great opportunity to serve and help other residents in the county,” Litchfield said. “That’s the main reason I do it. You can bring joy, compassion and care to so many people.”

Litchfield has developed a reputation in the community as “The Flower Ambassador” because he sends flowers to many people. Last Christmas, he dressed as the Gingerbread Man and visited patients at the Martin-Linsin Hospice Residence.

“I have to figure out a new character for this Christmas,” Litchfield said, smiling.

He is quick to offer hugs and prayers to people. He serves meals at the Community Kitchen in Albion on many Friday evenings and also helps many people with their computer problems.

“It is impossible to quantify Wayne Litchfield’s impact on Orleans County,” according to his nomination for the award. “A voice of calm in crisis for nearly three decades as an emergency dispatcher; a heart of gold to those in need – in need of a hot meal, a listening ear, or an ‘IT guy.'”

Orleans County Office for the Aging recognizes two seniors each year who are active volunteers. They are then invited to Albany where they are honored at the State Capitol. That recognition program will be Tuesday and also includes Geary Shenck of Clarendon.

Shenck was unable to attend Friday’s program at the Trolley Building at the 4-H Fairgrounds. Shenck is retired as the Orleans County animal control officer. He has also been a long-time farmer and served as Clarendon town supervisor for 10 years. He continues to write a “Tid Bits” monthly column in the Clarendon Gazette.

He has been active with Community Action for 27 years, and the Holley Community Center for a decade. He also served on the Office for the Aging Advisory Council and helped start the St. Vincent De Paul Center more than a half century ago. He has volunteered for many years, picking up and delivering household items for families in need.

Shenck, in written comments, urged others to give of their time.

“Don’t be afraid to volunteer!” he said. “There is always something you can do to help. Volunteering gives you a good feeling in the heart. With a good team and support system, volunteering can be the most rewarding thing you can do.”