Senior enjoys work at Fernley center

Ruth Carlyle began going to the Fernley Senior Center in 1978 when it was housed in a mobile home. Her visits were "off and on," and she mostly attended because her mother was a volunteer at that time.

"I actually started coming more often in 1986, after my husband died," said Carlyle.

"And I officially began volunteering in 1989. I signed on with RSVP as soon as they entered the rural counties."

For her continued commitment to the center as a volunteer, Carlyle has been selected as the Volunteer of the Week by Site Manager Nancy Cregan.

She began volunteering just one day a week, which has turned into a nearly everyday thing.

"It didn't take too long for that to happen," said Carlyle.

In 1990 or 1991, Carlyle was given the site manager duties, to cover for the manager when she wasn't there - during vacation or sick days. Then she was asked to be on the building committee; was made chairman of the local chapter of American Association of Retired Persons; chairman of the Fernley Senior Center Advisory Council and was a volunteer coordinator.

"It's hard to get people to volunteer. Commitment is a difficult thing for a lot of people. We are getting some new and younger volunteers, but we can always use more. Like when we do the food bank. It takes three days from start to finish to handle the commodities."

Carlyle had been a steady volunteer, helping out at the center almost every day until 1997 when she got sick.

"I had leukemia and spent 32 days in the hospital. So I've cut my time back since then."

Carlyle is a "listener" for the reading program. Twice a month, students from Fernley Elementary School go to the center and read to the seniors. It's an interactive program with the second- and third-graders.

She now helps out by washing and sanitizing the tables in the dining room. She then places the individual mats and silverware and prepares the coffee for brewing.

"I'm usually in every day, for lunch or to help. I cover for Nancy when she needs help by answering phones or with some of the paperwork. And at times I'll help get coffee for people or clean up tables."

Expanding into yet another area, Carlyle also wrote the Fernley Senior Center column for the Leader-Courier for three years. In the column she would keep people abreast of activities at the center and list birthdays for the week.

Carlyle has also received her fair share of awards for her volunteer work. In 1991 she received the Good Samaritan Award from the governor; Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Barbara Vucanovich, 1995; Certificate of Appreciation from Sheriff Sid Smith, 1996; Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Jim Gibbons, 1997; recognition for 3,369 hours volunteered in five years from RSVP, 1999, and certificates from the Fernley Senior Center. She was also nominated for the Gold Rule Award with J.C. Penney in 1993.

Carlyle has a son, David Saville in Sparks, a retired lieutenant with the Sparks Police Department and the executive director of Hot August Nights, and one grandchild, a teacher at Reed High School.

"Nancy's the reason I came back to the center to volunteer more. The people here really appreciate her and she genuinely cares for them. She's very good at what she does," said Carlyle.


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