RSVP Volunteers Support and Honor Veterans

According to the Census Bureau, there are 21.8 million veterans of the United States armed forces as of 2014. Veteran’s Day is a day to honor and show our gratitude to these heroes; especially the 20,037 veterans living in Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties.

Ten volunteers through the Greater St. Cloud Area Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) (Lisa J. Braun, Director) assisted with the Veterans Day parade and social which was held on Sunday, November 8th, 2015. The parade began at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System and proceeded to Apollo High School.

Garry Elfstrand, a RSVP volunteer of ten years, honored veterans as a volunteer at the event. Garry himself is also a veteran who served in the Army for nearly three years active duty and an additional two years in the Army Reserve. Garry felt honored at the event as he served coffee, hot chocolate, camaraderie and smiles to the many parade goers during the social at the conclusion of the parade. Garry stated he would definitely recommend this event in the future to veterans or anyone who cherishes and supports veterans.

RSVP volunteer, Fran Murtley, also donated her time at the event. Fran has been serving at this event for over eight years and says “the {Veteran’s Day Parade} event is always awesome and beautiful. All those who participate really appreciate it!” While Fran herself is not a veteran, she has numerous family members who served in the armed forces, such as her son who was in the Navy for twenty years. “Vets are very close to my heart. That’s my people and that’s my family,” Fran compassionately stated while discussing her family ties to the military.

In addition to helping with this event, RSVP volunteers commit their time to veterans in our community year-round. Twenty four RSVP volunteers regularly serve at the St. Cloud VA Health Care Systems forming meaningful relationships with veterans to improve their quality of life. These 24 RSVP volunteers have committed an impressive 3,939 hours thus far in 2015!

RSVP would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all veterans for their service to our country.

If you are age 55 or better and interested in volunteering in your community please contact the RSVP office at (320)255-7295 or visit the RSVP website at www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/RSVP.

-Jacquie Willis