The Town of Montgomery Seniors Independence Project (TOMSIP) honored Susan Jolly and the Town of Montgomery Community Response Team during a ceremony at town hall last Wednesday evening.
This year’s ceremony was different from years past due to the ongoing health crisis. Each year TOMSIP has a volunteer of the year who is honored at an appreciation dinner in April. This event was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health crisis caused many of TOMSIP’s older volunteers to step down, as they were at greater risk for having a negative response to COVID-19. When this happened, volunteers from the Town of Montgomery Community Response Team stepped up to provide services to seniors such as shopping, transportation, chores, friendly visits, telephone calls and clerical services. For their help, TOMSIP presented the Town of Montgomery Community Response Team with the 2020 Community Partner Award.
Jolly was given the 2020 Volunteer of the Year Award for going above and beyond the expectations of a TOMSIP volunteer. She went grocery shopping for a senior citizen and put away her food when she was not feeling well. When the senior citizen was suffering from congestive heart failure, Jolly waited with her for eight hours while she was waiting to be admitted into the emergency room. Jolly paid her a visit several times while she was in the hospital. Shortly after that the senior citizen passed away.
TOMSIP also recognized several volunteers who have been TOMSIP Friendly Visitor Volunteers for more than 10 years: Caren Aiello, Sanford Altman, Annette Bruno, Jayne Fiero, Patricia Imbriani, Peter Roden, Joan Buck Smith, Eileen Steed and Thomas Steed.
NYS Senator James Skoufis, a sponsor of TOMSIP, praised the project as well as the Town of Montgomery Community Response Team for all that they do.
“Thanks for being the community partners that all of us expect quite frankly in our communities but sometimes don’t realize,” Skoufis said. “You’ve got two really good ones here.”
Village of Montgomery Mayor Stephen Brescia, another sponsor of TOMSIP, also commended them for their service to seniors.
“Volunteerism is on the decline throughout Orange County, has been for many years,” he said. “It’s so difficult to find volunteers throughout our communities and that’s what makes what you do much more important. Our seniors are the most vulnerable throughout the community, especially during this COVID-19 crisis. You have so many good people on TOMSIP.”
Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher was proud of the work the volunteers did during this trying time.
“For us, the #TOMSTRONG Community Response Team and people like Susan Jolly, it’s really an incredible feeling to be able to be in a position to help and serve our community,” he said. “We are truly, truly blessed here in the Town of Montgomery to have the volunteers that we have and have the support in our community. When COVID hit, we were ready.”