Senior Volunteer Recognition Contest Begins

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If you know a senior citizen who gives back to the community in a big way, today is your chance to recognize them. The search is on for Michigan's outstanding senior volunteer. The contest to nominate an outstanding senior citizen volunteer begins today. It's called the salute to seniors. The contest pays tribute to those making a positive impact on their communities.

Jack Dolbee is here five days a week-at hospice of Lansing doing daily maintenance work. And he does it just to give back. The GM retiree has been racking up volunteer hours here for 12 years. He put in 1,300 hours last year alone.

"Nothing better to do. They depend on me here," said Jack Dolbee, Volunteer.

And Jack's not the only one they depend on. The facility gets help from other senior volunteers- like Terry Walsh.

"Sometimes it's just a matter of listening, holding hands, watching TV together, so whatever they need," said Terrence Walsh, Volunteer.

It's the type of work the salute to senior service aims to recognize.

"I think it's really important to really recognize those people that are in it for the right reasons, that are doing it to make a difference in peoples' lives," said Wynn Esterline, Owner of Home Instead Senior Care.

People who make that difference can be nominated at Nominees must be 65 or older and volunteer at least 15 hours a month. After all entries are in, the public gets to vote for their favorite volunteer. Michigan's winner gets $500 towards a charity of their choice and is entered into a national competition.

"It seems like the majority of my friends and peers when they're working, they have a very limited amount of time to volunteer. But once they retire, most of them find something to give back to the community," said Terry.

Though volunteers like Jack and Terry say recognition would be nice, they come to volunteer every day for a different reason.

"I always refer to this place as my family, the hospice, because I don't have much family left.. If I don't show up the girls are always calling wanting to know what's wrong," said Jack.

Nominations and votes will will be accepted through March 1st. The winner of the national contest will receive $5000 for the charity of their choice.