Four local senior citizens who are active in St. Charles Parish’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) were recently honored with Presidential Awards from the White House.
RSVP is a group of senior citizens from all over the parish who volunteer their time and talents to the community in various ways.
“They were surprised because this was the first time RSVP presented the Presidential Awards,” RSVP Director Jeanne Arabie said. “Volunteers are special people that come with knowledge and a heart of gold … to work alongside of them and to learn from them is a great experience that everybody should try once and awhile.”
To receive the Presidential Award, which included a medal and letter from President Donald Trump, a volunteer must have at least 25 years of service.
“I want to thank the volunteers that have served decades for their services so to present them with these special awards was an honor,” Arabie said.
The four people recently honored as part of RSVP’s annual recognition luncheon are Herman Louque, Virgie Naquin, Linton Bergeron and Shirley Gaubert.
Louque has volunteered for the past 27 years, while Naquin has completed 26 years of service. Bergeron and Gaubert have each been volunteers for the past 25 years.
“On behalf of a grateful Nation, I thank you for your service to your fellow Americans and those most in need. Through your dedicated services, you have ensured the continuation of America’s unparalleled commitment to improving the lives of others,” the letter from President Trump states. “Over this past year, you have served as a model of the American spirit. Your many hours of service have strengthened the bonds of cooperation and trust that bring people together, while helping to address some of the greatest challenges of our times.”
The letter continues to say that one of America’s greatest strengths remains the compassion of everyday citizens who give willing of themselves and their lives for the benefit of others.
“Each generation of hardworking and kindhearted volunteers helps to write a new chapter of American greatness, and our Nation is proud of your commitment to this honorable tradition,” the letter states.
Another highlight of the luncheon was when a check for the amount in which all RSVP volunteers saved the parish by volunteering instead of the parish having to pay for labor was presented to Parish President Matthew Jewell.