Fran Mason

Daily Point of Light # 2948 May 24, 2005

Daily Point of Light Award for
Older Americans Month – May 2005

Fran Mason is one of the winners of a special judging of the Daily Point of Light Award being honored this May during Older Americans Month. Recognizing the contributions of older Americans, these awards celebrate 50+ volunteers who are making a difference by giving of their time, talent and experience to meet the critical needs of their communities.

Fran Mason’s volunteer effort has definitely impacted both individuals and the community of Kalamazoo, MI. Fran began her second “full-time” job as a RSVP volunteer when she retired in 1993, and today volunteers for Ministry With Community, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Washington Writers Academy, Meals on Wheels and Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Fran goes above and beyond the call of duty. When Kalamazoo resident Vicki Saeman’s house burned down, she turned to Ministry With Community for help. Saeman said many people promised to help, “but Fran actually wrote down what I could use. Fran goes out of her way to help. It’s the simple things that mean so much.”

Fran coordinates volunteers who bake, package and deliver 100,000 cookies to non-profits, nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals during the Holidays. Fran teaches volunteers to roll candles that are sold as a community fundraiser. She is the election chair for precinct 16 and volunteers for every election. She coordinates the wrapping of 600 holiday packages given to area youth on Christmas Day. For eleven years she has tutored and mentored children through RSVP and her “reward” as she says, is seeing so many graduates. Fran always encourages others to volunteer; “…we need lots more helping hands.”

Fran’s special skills and talents were recently recognized this year, when she received Kalamazoo’s Irving S. Gilmore Lifetime Achievement Award for her volunteer efforts. It’s hard to believe Fran will turn 80 next year, for she shows no sign of letting up. “I think the primary reason for volunteering is feeling blessed yourself, and having the physical ability to get out and help someone who is less fortunate.” Mason says. “That’s satisfaction that money can’t buy.”