Senior volunteers helping better our community

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Monday, September 19, kicks off the beginning of Senior Corps week. So WLOX wanted to show some of the great work members of the Harrison County Retired Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP, do every day.

To keep seniors busy and active, this innovative program teams up those who can give a little help to those who need it. On this day, Senior Volunteer Al Collins is visiting with 91-year-old Margie Newman to give her a "file of life."

He tells her it has a place to fill out all of her medical information in it. In case of emergency, everything a paramedic would need to know about her medical history will be in a small file hanging on her fridge.

A grateful Mrs. Margie Newman said, "This is a wonderful program and I think that all the seniors should hear about it."

Al also installed a blinking light bulb to help first responders find Mrs. Newman, if necessary, and put a sticker on the door so they know her "file of life" is there.

"When the ambulance gets there, the driver sees the sticker on the door and that indicates to him to go to the fridge and pull off the time of life," Collins said. "While the technician is going straight to the patient and working on the patient, they can literally get in and get out in seconds that way."

Mrs. Newman, a retired school nurse is thrilled to have Al's help. This retired Air Force officer and RSVP volunteer is also a sworn deputy who cares about seniors staying safe from violent crime.

Through the RSVP program, the retired volunteers also put big reflective addresses outside the senior's home, install peep holes and better locks if they need them and even offer to do repairs around the house.

"I enjoy it," Collins said. "It's 50 percent work and it's 50 percent outreach. You go out and meet folks and you learn about them. You tell them what else is available in their community, and there are many, many other programs around."

There are so many wonderful programs for seniors. To learn more about them, call RSVP at (228) 896-0412.

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