Daily Point of Light # 2969 Jun 22, 2005

Ruth Ann Blair has been with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) since July 2000. Her positive outlook, amazing energy and giving spirit takes her from one end of the county to the other, volunteering at several agencies and helping with many programs throughout the community. In her four and one half years with RSVP, she has donated over 1,792 hours of volunteering service tutoring elementary children, assisting staff and senior clients at an Area on Aging agency and supporting the local arts by ushering during community theater and symphony events. Ruth Ann has greeted patients and visitors at one of our major hospitals, sold coffee and rolls at our county airport to raise funds for special programs, planted petunias along our main thoroughfare and assisted many other nonprofit agencies with bulk mailings, fund raisers, senior fairs, health fairs and other community events. When Ruth Ann is not out in the community volunteering, she is at home knitting items for our Helping Hands program, which area agencies distribute to people in need.

Ruth Ann’s enthusiasm and ambition has inspired others to get involved in volunteering through RSVP and she can often be found volunteering in the community with these friends. Ruth Ann continues to be a proponent for volunteerism by serving on the Retired and Senior Volunteer Advisory Committee. Her invaluable insight gives direction to RSVP, helping create new programs to address the needs of the seniors in our community, such as our Senior Safety Trio. Her creative imagination also lends a fun and innovative slant to new ways of recognizing our volunteers at luncheons and our annual recognition events.

Ruth Ann has a talent of bringing light into any room she enters and a smile to every person she meets. Her illuminating outlook heartens the same response from others, which served as a vital element during a community mock disaster she recently worked. The one skill of Ruth Ann’s that has personally touched many people is her knitting ability. Her specialty is layettes for premature infants however, as with her community volunteering, the items she creates addresses a variety of needs. She regularly contributes slippers and sweaters for children; lap robes for the sick and elderly; afghans for shelters, displaced homemakers and families in transition; baby blankets, bonnets and booties for newborns; and angel blankets for mourning parents to wrap around their little ones who have passed away. Ruth Ann also supports annual Helping Hands drives by knitting hats, scarves and mittens for our Hat and Mitten Drive; slippers for Muskegon County Head Start children to wear in the classroom in the event they forget their shoes; and creates outfits to dress up Teddy Bears which are distributed during the Christmas season. Ruth Ann also made lap robes in a recent Helping Hands initiative for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq. The collection of lap robes was sent to the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. who delivered them to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for distribution.