2016 Community Service

Community Volunteer Awards
2016 Honorees
Bernice Kong, Minnie Connor, Shirley Gladfelder 

2016 Distinguished Community Service

Bernice Kong, Minnie Connor, Shirley Gladfelder
Mark Twain once said that age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, he said, it doesn’t matter.

He probably never met Bernice Kong, Minnie Connor and Shirley Gladfelder over at the Neil Orchard Senior Activities Center. But they certainly are good examples of what he was talking about.

Jenny Ta from the Senior Center nominated these ladies for the Distinguished Community Service Award. She said that although each of them is wonderful in all they do around the center, it is when they are working together that they truly shine.

Lunch is served five days a week at the Senior Center through the All Seasons Café, which is part of the Meals on Wheels program. Every day, Minnie, Bernice and Shirley are on the job to help. In addition to serving the meals, Bernice schedules Meals on Wheels volunteers for the center and keeps track of meal participants. When meals are done, Minnie collects and records the donations that were received.  

On Wednesdays, the center offers their Green Thumb lunch service. The program was started at the center to provide a freshly prepared nutritious meal to senior participants. Not only are these Three Musketeers in the kitchen cooking up a storm, but they each play a role during the service: Bernice collects the donations and keeps the line moving, Shirley is at the kitchen window to serve up the food and Minnie assists those unable to serve themselves. 

Serving 80 to 100 participants during each service, the program runs without a hitch -- thanks to this trio.

But that’s not all.

Minnie has volunteered at the Senior Center since it first opened its doors in 1987 and has been working tirelessly for the past 28 years. Always ready to lend a hand, Minnie has racked up the second most volunteer hours logged with the Senior Corps in all of Sacramento County.

For more than two decades, Bernice has arrived at exactly 7:40 each morning ready to take on the day. Rain or shine, as long as the Senior Center has been open, Bernice has been there. Over the years, she has volunteered for just about every position available at the Center. She is the official greeter, and wastes no time introducing newcomers around, making sure they meet people and feel welcome. Not only does she help with many programs around the Center, she started a weekly piano sing-along and she’s totally in charge. She puts together songbooks and has a regular group that comes together to sing and have fun.

Shirley? She keeps on her toes, too. Whether she is out back tending the garden with the Green Thumb Garden Club or reconciling accounts as the Cordova Senior Advisory Board treasurer, Shirley is always ready with a warm smile and kind word. Even on the days she is not on the volunteer schedule, she will always make time to check in with the center to see if there is anything that needs attention.

In making her nomination, Jenny said this:

“Bernice, Minnie and Shirley are some of the best people you will ever have the honor of meeting. Their dedication and compassion knows no bound and we are truly blessed to have them at the Neil Orchard Senior Activities Center.”

Don’t count the days… make the days count. That has always been good advice. And without a doubt it has been well-heeded by this trio of Distinguished Community Service volunteers who exemplify the truth that volunteers are “love in motion.”

Rancho Cordova is so lucky to have you.

Please join in thanking three terrific ladies: Bernice Kong, Minnie Connor and Shirley Gladfelder.

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