Niagara Gazette — Mayor Paul Dyster honored area volunteers at a ceremony in city hall on the inaugural Mayors National Day of Service.
Volunteers and staff from the Health Association of Niagara County, Inc. gathered in city council chambers on Tuesday afternoon where Dyster issued a proclamation thanking the organization for all the good they do for the community. The mayor also participated in the Mayors National Day of Service, an event organized by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, by helping Meals On Wheels volunteers with their deliveries in the morning.
Dyster said that volunteers across the country help to ensure that communities like Niagara Falls are great places to live.
"Everyday across the United States citizens are tackling tough problems," he said.
Volunteers work in food pantries, schools and community centers to help people in need throughout the region, the mayor noted.
"Across the board volunteers help America's mayors tackle tough issues that we face in our cities," he said.
More than 830 mayors from across the country participated in the event on Tuesday.
Volunteers from HANCI's foster grandparent, retired senior and volunteer and senior companion programs were on hand to accept the proclamations.
Martha Payton, who tutors Niagara Falls schoolchildren in her work with the forster grandparent program, said that her volunteer work gets her out of the house and gives her something to do that fills a need in the community.
"I get a joy knowing that I can help somebody," she said.
Payton said she loves to encourage the kids to continue working hard.
"It makes a difference, just to see a smile on their face when you say 'hey, I love you,' " she said.
John W. Kinner, the executive director of HANCI, said he was excited that Dyster and Niagara Falls were participating in the day of service. The volunteers are greatly encouraged the message of appreciation from the city.
"I think it really helps them to realize how important what they are doing is," he said.
Kinner said that HANCI recognizes the volunteers within the programs, but for them to be invited to city hall to receive the proclamations is different.
"I think it's so important for the volunteers," Kinner said.Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257