Rehabilitation Specialists Client Honored on Borough's Volunteer Appreciation Night
Gwen Nicholson "has always been passionate about helping others who have fallen on difficult times, whether through sickness, financial hardship, or abuse," Rehabilitation Specialists said
Wednesday was "Gwen Nicholson Day" in Fair Lawn after Nicholson—a client of Rehabilitation Specialists who turned into a regular volunteer at the Pollitt Drive brain injury recovery center—was honored by the borough.
The Borough Council recognized Health and Human Services Department volunteers on "Volunteer Appreciation Night" Tuesday, but reserved special accolades for Nicholson.
"Every year I say the same thing—We need you, and if we had to pay you, we couldn't," Councilmember Jeanne Baratta said of the borough's volunteers.
Outside of the volunteers honored Tuesday, "We have so many more that help us out on a daily basis," Health Officer Carol Wagner said.
Rehabilitation Specialists issued the following statement describing Nicholson's accomplishments:
"Gwen has always been passionate about helping others who have fallen on difficult times, whether through sickness, financial hardship, or abuse. She never bemoans her own misfortunes or the things she is no longer able to do as a result of her injury, focusing instead on how she can give to others. We have had many discussions about being thankful for our own fortunes, whatever they may be. She has actually initiated each collection idea during our therapy sessions.
"She practices her computer skills in designing flyers and then distributes them among the staff and clients at Rehabilitation Specialists. Gwen, along with her occupational therapist, delivers the food and other donations collected during each drive. In occupational therapy, our work is about promoting possibility and making it happen. Gwen’s ideas are put into action as a meaningful, client-driven part of her treatment. As a result, she gains self-respect, confidence, and pride about her accomplishments. Her selflessness and positive attitude about community giving have been influential in her own progress toward more independent living. Her efforts speak to her generous and caring spirit and she is most deserving of this special recognition."
The following volunteers were recognized by the borough Tuesday:
Meals on Wheels Volunteers
In 2010, Meals on Wheels drivers delivered a total of 1,854 meals over 262 days to homebound Fair Lawn deniors, according to Human Services.
John Biercuk, Krisann Guy, Alice Maher, Jean Canger, Kathy McGoldrick, Eleanor Coles, Barbara Hartnig, John Molenaar, Elena Croker, Cathy Hochkeppel, Cuc Nguyen, Diane & Jerry Cunningham, Terry Hyde, Joseph Perotti, Kenneth Derzak, Sr. & Jr., Sheryl Ives, Camille Porcaro, Patty Doto, Bob Lienert, Mitchell and Rena Rabinowitz, Henry Loeber, Angela Grippo, Mary and Joe Scarry, Jodi Steinhart, Charles Wolf, Nanci Toth, Joe Hofmann, Kathy Shaw, Phyllis Weiss, Sandra Zingler, Connie Lagrosa, Delia Gunning, Sauhad and Glenn Greff, Phyllis Russo, Joyce Toledo
Food Pantry Volunteers
In 2010, the food pantry distributed 547 bags of food to 53 Fair Lawn families. The following volunteers donated time to sort through the donations, stock the shelves and clean and organize the pantry, Human Services said.
Alexandra Schilling, Sally Lindstrom, Janus Varela, Stephan Silberman, Tara Carney, Brenna Bohny, Jody Small, Nancy Sperling, Stuart Pace, Susan Swierczewski, Emily Wyler, Karen Peterson, Gretchen Sommer, Beri Raffiani
New 2011 Meals on Wheels Drivers
Wayne Ballerini, Gregory Denman, Antonio Andrade, Martha Avitabile, Neil Donohue, Gerard Tully, Douglas Packer, Cynthia Blauschild, Michele Gehbauer