BERLIN – The volunteers who staff the Berlin Welcome Center earned recognition from the county last week during the annual Volunteer Spirit of Worcester County Awards.
The nine Berlin residents who give their time to tasks at the town’s welcome center were among those honored Aug. 24 at the Volunteer Spirit of Worcester County Awards at the Atlantic Hotel.
“We nominated our welcome center volunteers because they just don’t get enough credit,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic development director.
The welcome center volunteers honored included Janet Benner, Cassandra Brown, Betty Tustin, Kim Fraser, Mary Raley, Lori Giampa, Carolyn Connelly, Bill Burke and Mike Wiley. Following last week’s recognition by county officials, the volunteers were celebrated at Monday’s meeting of the Berlin Town Council.
“I’m very pleased to tell everyone that Worcester County has an annual award that they provide each year to organizations and particularly entities of public service,” Williams said. “This year the volunteers at Berlin’s welcome center were honored by Worcester County.”
Wells said the volunteers deserved recognition for being so willing to spend their time staffing the welcome center and handling the various tasks associated with its operation. On a daily basis, she said, they’re asked over and over where bathrooms are, what the best spots to visit are and whether they’d met Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. She praised them for answering all the questions thrown at them “with a smile on their face.”
Williams agreed. He said there were small towns throughout the country but what made Berlin so appealing was the enjoyable experience it offered to guests. He said the citizens who volunteered in the welcome center helped make the experience enjoyable.
“They don’t just give them information they give them a good memory…,” he said. “You’re not just giving folks information you’re giving them an experience they’ll treasure remember and hopefully repeat often.”
Giampa told the council she’d had Multiple Sclerosis for 24 years and appreciated the opportunity to volunteer in Berlin.
“I must say volunteering keeps me going,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the volunteering I would not want to get up and go.”
According to Kelly Brinkley, volunteer services manager for Worcester County, each year county residents are invited to nominate individuals, organizations and businesses for the Volunteer Spirit of Worcester County Awards. She said the Berlin Welcome Center volunteers were chosen as winners in the “Community of Service” category for the “wonderful work they do for the community in Berlin.”
“I believe the welcome center volunteers are truly unique in their capacity to be multi-faceted in their support of the Town of Berlin,” Brinkley said. “They are assisting visitors, local residents, and businesses every day. This unique combination of supporting the businesses and people visiting Berlin made them the standout winner of the Volunteer Spirit award for this year’s category of ‘Community of Service.’”