Did you know that April 21 through the 27th is National Volunteer Week?
We do, and we are dedicating this week’s blog to recognizing our volunteers. Radio Eye has over 150 volunteers who read to our listeners, seven days a week, early in the morning, on holidays, and weekends. Volunteers like Christine Vanderhoof, who has been with Radio Eye since 1992, is still coming in to read the Herald-Leader on Wednesday mornings.
Our listeners depend on our volunteers to stay informed about what’s happening in their own community and the world through the day’s news. Our readers come together to read the major area papers, the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Courier Journal, in groups of two or three. The control board operator sets the microphone volumes for the live readers. The Herald-Leader begins at 8am and the Courier Journal starts at 11am. As one reader approaches the end of a story, they raise their hand to alert the next reader it’s almost their turn. Other readers come in throughout the day to read 30 minute segments, often recorded alone in single booths (we have four). These volunteers don’t always see many others, they don’t see our listeners, but their words reach almost ten thousand people across Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
Not everyone who volunteers at Radio Eye is a reader. Some of our volunteers sit on committees. We have four – Outreach, Expansion, Marketing, and Development. These groups do the important work of building awareness, helping us find outlets like hospitals and nursing homes where our audio stream can be added to in-house closed circuit television, letting people know who we are and what we do (and how to help), and raising money to pay for infrastructure and a tiny administrative staff. Our work could not happen without people like Marlene James (left), who spoke to the Lion’s Club earlier this year, and to many other groups, and people like Lindsay Harrell (left) who helped man our booth at the iKnow Expo. Committee members work behind the scenes to put together events and write letters, make calls, and support Radio Eye in creative ways.
This year, we recognized ten volunteers who had a lifetime contribution of over 1000 hours.
1. Tom Dixon
2. Muzzy Hemken
3. Barb McGroarty
4. Shelly Meyer
5. Freida Vinegar
6. Deb Shoss
7. Christine Vanderhoof
8. Maureen Wrobel
We also have interns, Lindsay Studer and Martha Jones served this year. Maggie King is our newest addition and will be with us until August. We were very sorry to lose Tom Shofner, who made everyone feel welcome and was a wonderful person to be around. Tom was the person to greet me as I came to Radio Eye the first time, and he made me feel welcome and comfortable.
We have also been able to participate in the AmeriCorps Vista program for many years. Our current director, Amy Hatter, is a former Vista volunteer, and our current Marketing and Outreach coordinator, Katy McBride, is able to be with us through the Vista program.
As we look forward to this year, we know that many members of the community will step up to answer the needs of our listeners. We want to be sure they know that we are grateful for every minute of their time, late night emails, predawn drives and holiday mornings. We just had a great party recognizing this year’s volunteers. We’ll have a potluck get together this summer. We host a regular new volunteer orientation on Fridays – just call or email Chelsey (Chelsey.firstname.lastname@example.org) to register. We will welcome you with open arms to the Radio Eye family and we know that our listeners will appreciate your contribution to the essential work that we do.
-Lissa Probus, Volunteer