A group of volunteers who continue giving valuable service year after year regardless of age or other problems were honored recently by Salt Lake County Aging Services' Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

About 1,000 of the approximately 1,100 to 1,200 RSVP participants were recognized at the program's 18th anniversary banquet in the Salt Palace.While all RSVP volunteers were praised for dedication and motivation, six were singled out as "outstanding volunteers of the year."

David Barton has been a volunteer for three years with the Utah Easter Seal Society's Family Friends project. In that time he has served seven families, usually working with two to three at a time. He was cited for "exhibiting a high-degree of creativity and dedication. He always looks for an individualized and innovative approach for each child . . . ."

Marion Berkley called Aging Services three years ago, offering to help the elderly. She began by doing grocery shopping for frail individuals. She continues to accept assignments with unusual circumstances, finding creative ways to assist them. She might read mail, sew on buttons or surprise a client with special treats. She also volunteers at a care center where she calls bingo, but her real contribution is making friends with the residents.

Despite physical infirmities, Mary Fern has been a University Hospital volunteer for 14 years, contributing 3,004 hours in many areas. She started delivering menus and patient mail and has also provided blood pressure testing and glaucoma screening for patients and hospital visitors. Her longest and favorite service was in the gift shop, but she also worked in the surgery waiting room. She now serves on 2-North or Clinic 2 or wherever needed.

Lynn Pexton is not just a resident but a friend to his sister and other residents and to staff members at Twin Pines Care Center. He spends his day passing and clearing meal trays, sweeping and emptying garbage. He helps set up and clean up after activities. He was recognized for "lifting himself above his . . . handicap, gaining the love and respect" of others.

Verna Pumphrey, now 85, started in RSVP at age 79. She volunteers about 1,500 hours a year and is still going strong. Coordinator of volunteers since 1985 at Friendship Manor, she is heavily involved in the residents' annual bazaar. She is responsible for the get-well cards and sympathy cards mailed to families of those live or have lived in the center. She oversees distribution of U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities. Whatever the need, large or small, she is the "first to volunteer her time and energy," manor officials say.

Bill Richmond was nominated by the Friendly Neighborhood Center, where he can be found in the ceramics department almost every day including many weekends and holidays. His efforts with the molds and with cleaning and repairing ceramic pieces give participants at this and other centers a wide variety of objects to paint. He is "definitely the nucleus of the ceramics department" and has devoted more than 2,000 hours volunteer service, giving "unselfishly of himself, time and talents so others can enjoy a hobby at reasonable cost."

Douglas D. Palmer