Thursday, September 19, 2013


On Wednesday, September 18th I had the pleasure of joining several hundred RSVP volunteers, staff, guests and friends at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for their Annual Outstanding Senior Service Awards. What made the event even more special that day, is that I was escorting one of my own volunteers, who just happen to be the big winner that day, Hortense Priest.
A full house at the 2013 RSVP Awards

I hate to say "winner" because as you look around the room, they are all winners. Each and every one of them. As a volunteer coordinator, I always find myself torn with the idea of nominating someone for an award. How do you choose when you love everyone so much? But here we are and here she is dressed in her lovely read coat and hat and taking it all in stride.

Here is the narrative that won Hortense the award. I hope you enjoy learning a bit about her as I did. She is a lovely and humble person.

Outstanding Senior Service Award - RSVP
Hortense Priest
Lutheran Community Services is proud to nominate Hortense Priest of Wilmington, Delaware for the 2013 RSVP Outstanding Senior Service Award. 

Cousin Sylvia, Vol Cor Cher Frampton & Hortense Priest
Hortense has been a valuable individual on the volunteer roster for decades working in several areas at LCS.  Her primary roles have been working at our weekly produce distribution at St. Stephen’sChurch outside on 13th Street every Wednesday.

Her other primary role has been to pick up bread weekly from a local super market and bring it to the St. Stephen’s Pantry on Broom Street.

Hortense’s time with us has been invaluable in calculation as you rarely get volunteers who are as dedicated and are as reliable as she is. Her weekly work with the produce distribution help us to provide much needed fresh fruits and vegetables to our clients that they normally do not receive at our pantry.  This program helps more than 150 people each week, and Hortense is there regardless of the weather conditions (severe heat or cold, rain, snow) to help distribute the food. Without Hortense and our volunteers to count on each and every week, this program would not be possible.  

Hortense Priest on stage with M&T Bank Vice President Joe Yacyshyn
We also count on Hortense to pick up day-old-bread, baked pastries/cakes and pies from the Acme at Trolley Square in Wilmington, each week to hand out to our clients at our St. Stephen’s pantry. Bread and baked goods are not part of our normal packing list, but it is so nice for us to be able to ask our clients “Would you like a loaf of bread, or a pie?”  Giving our clients the dignity of choice, plus a nice little treat now and then really makes their day and it makes our pantry volunteers happy too that they can give them a choice. We do not even call Hortense, she just shows up each week with the delivery. Without the reliability of Hortense picking these goodies up each and every week, this would not be possible.  St. Stephen’s pantry serves approximately 25,000 individuals each year.

In addition to all of the wonderful things that Hortense has done for LCS over the years, we wanted to share with you some of the fascinating things that she has done in and throughout her community over the years that makes her such an amazing person to us and to so many other people!

Volunteer activities & hobbies:
Hortense Priest on stage with M&T Bank Vice President Joe Yacyshyn

·     * City of Wilmington Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and Blues Festival – sell tickets & merchandise for 23 yrs.

·     *   Attend Thanksgiving Senior Ball at St. Anthony’s for 22 yrs. & Chairperson of the Activity for 7 yrs.

·     *  Member of Howard High School Class of 1952- organizes the events & facilitates ongoing communication between classmates

·      * Member of Mt. Joy United Methodist Church.  Her grandmother was a founding member & all family members have attended there since.- Volunteer for 5 yrs.

·     *  Member of AKA National Sorority serving the community (along with her daughter and her granddaughter).

·    * Member of the Woodlawn Library Adult Summer Reading Program

·    * Usher at Grand Opera for 17 yrs.

·    * Usher at DE Theater for 15 yrs.

·     * Usher at Wilmington Drama League for 12 yrs.

·      * Taught in the Delaware Public School System for 34 Years.

     During her interview for this nomination Hortense said,
      “I truly enjoy volunteering as a way of using my time to do my community service in helping    mankind and giving back to help someone else" 

 Thank you Hortense for all that you do for LCS and everywhere else!!

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