I always love when people receive Lifetime Achievement Awards because it's such a rare occurrence and it's an honor bestowed on a very deserving, special human being. Someone who's spent a good portion of their lifetime reaching out and helping others. And when that honor is given to someone in our community, it makes it even better.

I'm happy to say that the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Berkshire County has announced that longtime volunteer, Bertha Lawrence, is the recipient of the group’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, designed to recognize extraordinary feats of service.

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In a statement from RSVP and the City of Pittsfield, for nearly 50 years, Lawrence has been an active volunteer in the community. Jeff Roucoulet, RSVP Director, recalled some of Lawrence’s achievements over the years in a statement issued to the media:

“Bertha started with RSVP in 1974, two years after its founding. She has logged in 5,461 volunteer hours over the decades, including 21 years with AARP’s 55 Alive Program, an elder driver re-education program. She also served 18 years on the RSVP Board and was the corecipient of our Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011... We were all blessed to have her on board. Thank you, Bertha.

President of the RSVP Board, Jeff Thompson, added, "Bertha Lawrence is a person whose empathy and commitment to service has enriched the lives of so many in the Berkshires. She is really someone special and it’s our pleasure to honor her many years of outstanding service with this new recognition.”

In addition to her volunteer work with RSVP, Lawrence served two five-year terms as a trustee of Berkshire Community College, first appointed by Gov. Michael Dukakis, and later by Gov. Bill Weld.

She also served as president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the PEO Sisterhood, a women’s philanthropic and educational organization with members in the U.S. and Canada, and served on the boards of Elder Services and the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.

Congratulations to you, Bertha, on what certainly amounts to a Lifetime of putting others' needs before your own. You truly are special.

About RSVP:

RSVP is a national organization funded in part by AmeriCorps Seniors. It is sponsored locally by the City of Pittsfield. RSVP provides recruitment, training, and placement of persons 55 years of age and older as volunteers. For more information about RSVP, please call 413-499-9345.

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