If you ever needed one very reliable person to help you get somewhere, you would call someone like Leo Brosseau. He is the man who made sure that our neighbors made it to their health appointments, reliably and safely. Now approaching 90 years of age, Leo has decided that after years of community volunteering, it is time for him to retire. We, at Southern Rhode Island Volunteers, thought it only fitting to see him off in a proper send off with this tribute to him for all of the contributions he has made to our community as a volunteer.
Leo was brought up in Providence. His father worked as a machinist at the US Navel Torpedo Station. At the earliest age legally possible, Leo Brosseau signed up for the US Navy. He fulfilled two tours in the Navy, and was stationed in Virginia, Guam, and Pearl Harbor. When he was discharged from the service in 1952, he soon after met his wife, Rita, and the rest, as they say, was history! Married now for 63 years, he and Rita are wonderfully happy with four children, nine grandchildren, and one great grandchild (with one more on the way).
Years ago, when Leo Brosseau retired from his fulltime career, he knew that he had to do something with his time. Leo said: “If I want to stay busy I have to find a way to be busy” adding, “I don’t want to sit here, read books or stare at the walls. I can’t lift heavy things, but I can drive, and I enjoy driving.” After reading about a volunteer story in the local newspaper, Leo reached out to Southern Rhode Island Volunteers, and soon after he began volunteering as a medical transporter, a friendly visitor and a Meals-on-Wheels driver. “I like volunteering. It gets me out of the house. I’m not a pain to my wife and not a vegetable. In volunteering, I meet a lot of nice people. I've been married for 63 years, have four children, we have each other, we are blessed by God and I feel like we have to give something back.”
We thank you for your years of service Leo.
It is 9:00 on a sunny but cold Thursday morning. Every weekday morning at around this time many volunteers throughout Rhode Island meet at a designated center where they pick up meals that need to be delivered to those in need. Linda Radin-Damon is a volunteer for Southern Rhode Island Volunteers. Meals on Wheels are one of the programs that Southern Rhode Island Volunteer coordinates and Linda is one of the reasons why the program is a success.
As the morning begins, Linda and coordinators review her route schedule for meal deliveries. Once her route schedule is confirmed they check to ensure that each recipient has their meal accounted for. When everything is complete, Linda puts the coolers with the food into her car and she’s off to make the deliveries.
Linda Radin-Damon grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts. After being swept off her feet by her husband they decided to settle in Narragansett. Thirty-one years later Linda is still in love with Narragansett and Rhode Island. Keeping her busy, Linda has her own interior landscaping business, and also provides services working as a companion for seniors. When she is not working, she is either volunteering or enjoying being outside. Some of her favorite Rhode Island moments include bird watching at the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, attending Charlestown’s Rhythm and Roots outdoor music festival, and exploring the different beaches and nature trails throughout.
On today’s schedule Linda has nine deliveries. All of her deliveries are located within Narragansett, which makes delivering efficient for both her and the recipients, as they receive their meals around the same designated time. During her drop offs there are several recipients that embrace Linda’s warm and loving spirit, whom she spends time with. As Linda explained, the Meals on Wheels program is invaluable in many ways. Not only do volunteers deliver food, but they provide companionship, and also ensure that the recipients are safe (a safety system is set up to properly respond to recipients that do not answer or may have a medical emergency).
It’s clear that Linda genuinely loves volunteering with Southern Rhode Island Volunteers. It was hard to count how many hugs she exchanged on this cold but heartwarming Thursday morning.
Written and Photographed by: Zach Johnson
Louise Weaver has the unique opportunity to volunteer at South County’s’ oldest museum. The Museum of Primitive Art and Culture, which was founded in 1892, is in fact South County’s’ oldest museum.
Louise, a retired Rhode Island schoolteacher, now spends several hours each week as the museums administrative assistant. At the museum (which features more than 15,000 archaeological and ethnological objects), Ms. Weaver is like an ambassador, promoting the wonderful collections on hand. It is at the The Museum of Primitive Art and Culture that you will see collections of: Stone Age and Bronze Age artifacts from Europe, West African masks and sculptures, Prehistoric stone artifacts from New England and much more.
After retiring, Louise knew that she had some available time and wanted to do something that would give back to the community. After connecting with Southern Rhode Island Volunteers, SRIV helped match her with the opportunity to volunteer at the museum. Fast forward a few years later, Louise is providing informal tours, helping at special events, assisting the children’s educator and maintaining the office. “I feel good when I’ve helped someone out,” Louise said, “In giving, I receive, it’s a good feeling.”
To learn more about The Museum of Primitive Art and Culture please refer to their website at: http://primitiveartmuseum.org/ or call: (401) 783-5711
Interested in becoming a volunteer? To learn more about Southern Rhode Island Volunteers please refer to our website at: http://www.southernrivol.org/ or call: (401) 552-7661
John Henneberry (who recently celebrated his 90th birthday) goes about his Tuesday route quietly and without fanfare. He has been distributing Meals On Wheels to the elderly and shut-ins for Southern Rhode Island Volunteers since 1989. He has been at it for 25 years now. This unassuming man, a World War II veteran, feels that he has been lucky. He tells me “Life’s been good to me. Volunteering is a way to give a little back.” Sometimes John is the only human a recipients sees for days, even weeks. A smile of gratitude when he hands someone a meal is all the reward he needs to keep on going.