More than 100 area residents were honored for their volunteer service at Together We Cope during the agency's annual Volunteer Picnic in Oak Forest.
"This is your day, the day we say 'thank you' to all of the people who give their time and talent to us day in and day out, all year long," said Cate Dietz, TWC's volunteer coordinator.
Leonard Schaafsma, of Oak Forest, was given special recognition for 2,137 hours of volunteer work in 2011 at the nonprofit agency based in Tinley Park. He assists in many departments at TWC, doing everything from driving a truck and making food pickups to assembling shelves in the resale shop. He also serves as treasurer of the board of directors.
"I guess I just like hanging out here," Schaafsma quipped when asked about his dedication.
On a more serious note, he acknowledged the increased number of south suburban residents asking for help from TWC in the past year.
"We are just happy that we can keep up with the needs of the people who come to us for help," he said.
Two other volunteers were singled out for special awards marking their commitment to TWC.
Gordon Collins, of Tinley Park, put in 771 hours of work last year, and Fred Hill of Midlothian gave 766 hours of service that year.
Kathryn Straniero, executive director of TWC, said volunteers are the backbone of the agency, working in all areas and keeping alive the mission of aiding neighbors in crisis.
"We are very fortunate to have so many talented and experienced people helping us every day," she said. "Without them we could not accomplish our goals each year."
Together We Cope assists families in temporary crisis from 22 south suburban communities. For more information, visit www.togetherwecope.org.
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