Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana hosted a special Veterans Corps Pinning Ceremony and breakfast on Veterans Day to honor senior citizens who are military veterans in its Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
The ceremony was held at the Windsor Senior Living Community in Mandeville. There are currently 53 members in the Veterans Corps including the new two members added this year.
Fran Magee of Slidell was one of those new members. Magee joined the Navy Reserves, and after a year, she went active duty. Twenty-two years later, she retired as a senior chief yeoman.
“I loved it,” Magee said. “There were hard days, but overall, it was the best thing that I ever did. It was my pleasure to serve. It is the proudest thing that I did in my life. It was just the camaraderie and the feeling of doing something so much bigger and better than anything you can imagine.”
In 2015, the Corporation for National and Community Service formed the Veterans Corps. This group represents those who honorably served in our armed forces and continue to serve their country and community through the RSVP program and other initiatives. RSVP is for those citizens who are 55 and older and want to give back their time, skills and talents to the residents of St. Tammany Parish.
At the pinning ceremony, a specially designed Senior Corps Veterans pin was presented to each member of the Veterans Corps to signify the individual’s commitment to our nation through their military service and volunteer activity through the RSVP. Army Captain Andrew Sauceda performed the pinning.
Mary Sheppard of Madisonville was another honoree. She served in the Navy from 1971-76, finishing as a yeoman, third class. Sheppard came from a military family. Her father served in World War II, and her brothers served in the Marines, Air Force and Army Reserves. That left the Navy as her choice for service.
“Every year, I greatly appreciate that veterans are recognized and celebrated, as they should be,” Sheppard said. “My fellow veterans are all my brothers and sisters. I wear black for the ones who are no longer here. I think we’re here to serve others, and it’s an honor and privilege for me to be able to do that.”
The RSVP program, a component of Senior Corps, is funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). If you would like to learn more about volunteering, contact RSVP Volunteer Director Gwen Byars at 985-674-0488.