by Steven Dugan
The Homestead’s paid staff marked the first day of spring by honoring and celebrating its wonderful volunteer staff at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on March 19. The dinner serves as an opportunity to recognize volunteers who have achieved milestones in years and hours of service. This year, there were four volunteers honored for hours of service: Carmen Fierro for 300 hours, Tony Ciarriocco and Carol Hamilton for 1,500 hours, and Janet Austin for 2,500 hours. The museum also recognized Anne Parker for 20 years of volunteer service!
Volunteerism in America goes back to Colonial times when Benjamin Franklin organized the first volunteer firehouse in 1736. Organizations such as the YMCA, American Red Cross, and United Way saw their beginnings in the 1800s. Community-based organizations, such as the Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis Clubs, made their debuts before the 1920s. Since the Great Depression, many more volunteer organizations have organized to fight hunger, poverty, social injustice, and violence, among many other causes. On the cultural front, museums, art galleries, and historic sites are utilizing volunteers around the world to serve their visitors.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our volunteers for all of the work they do throughout the year. From giving tours, taking care of the collection, staffing events, helping with off-site presentations, answering phones, and making our visitors feel welcome, they make the Homestead a wonderful place to visit! As we get ready to enter our 36th year, we look forward to continuing to work with them in serving our visitors.