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GuengerichLarryOn Saturday, April 11, over 270 Landis Homes volunteers and their guests, including residents and others from the broader community, gathered at Yoder’s Restaurant for our Annual Volunteer Appreciation event.  Included in the program were comments by Volunteer Services staff Sue Shirk and Joyce Shenk, special music by the Ministers of Music, and the below opening comments by Larry Guengerich, Landis Communities Director of Communications and Church Relations.  We are grateful to each of the volunteers who contribute generously of their time and talent to the community at Landis Homes!

Welcome to the Landis Homes Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. This really is a time where we as team members, leadership team and members of the board celebrate the myriad of ways you make it possible for Landis Homes to be an outstanding place to live and serve. In my role with Landis Communities, I interact with people from many retirement services providers and always am proud to share that the sense of volunteerism is alive and well at Landis Homes, both among residents and in the larger community.

On my drive over here today, it was exciting to see the signs of spring. They are unmistakable now. The slight green and red hues visible on the trees, the wind making it seem I am back in the Midwest and even the insects are beginning to make their presence known.

All of these tie to a short quote I found about volunteerism. It comes from Juliet Carinreap. He noticed, “The breeze, the trees, the honey bees — All volunteers!” So all of you here today find yourself in good company! Breezes offer themselves up to cool us, to spread seeds and even to help bring electric power to our life. Trees offer their shade, their seeds and even their wood to be used and honey bees; Wow! They literally carry the substance making much of our food possible from flower to flower.

That may sound glamourous compared to the volunteerism you experience at Landis Homes. But I assure you the acts you do are meaningful and noticed. My office happens to be in the hallway near East Bethany Chapel. Nearly every day I see residents being helped by volunteers coming and going from appointments, events and other places. Usually, I greet both the resident and the volunteer and that is the end of my thinking about this. However as I thought about my chance to be here with you today, I paused to think more about these services this week. I got to thinking. “Who would do this if we did not have a volunteer group as strong as we do?” The reality is that your volunteering is what makes the programs happen and the resident life as strong and vital as it is.

No matter how you volunteer, today we recognize you! We recognize the sacrifices you make to help out where needed, the time you give and the smiles with which you provide this vital help. Thank you so much! I want to leave you with the words of singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman who said, “I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.” Thanks for being angels that are far from ordinary!

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