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Auburn honors its volunteers with lunch and Ciscoe at senior center

Janet Koch serves lunch to Maureen High during a special gathering honoring volunteers at the Auburn Senior Activity Center. - Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter
Janet Koch serves lunch to Maureen High during a special gathering honoring volunteers at the Auburn Senior Activity Center.
— image credit: Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

They are the folks who provide the hot coffee and donuts for bystanders at the Auburn Veterans Day Parade, turn the flapjacks and pick up dishes at community breakfasts.

The men and women who cook up dinners for the homeless at Thanksgiving and Christmas, who help with the celebrations at Les Gove Park on July Fourth and make the Daddy Daughter Date Nights run smoothly.

The people who volunteer their time just because they love doing it and get a kick out of doing good things for others.

As Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis likes to say, if the City had to pay people to do all the things its volunteers do, considering all the uncompensated hours they put in, it simply couldn't afford the expense.

Last Friday, however, Auburn not only honored its volunteers with a lunch at the Auburn Senior Activity Center, it also brought in radio and television gardening personality Ciscoe Morris to keep 'em laughing.

Among the many volunteers was Barbara Saelid, a retired school teacher, a former supervisor for Federal Way-based World Vision and a volunteer with the senior center's Wellness Team for about 14 years.

"Oh, I love it," said Saelid, catching a bite to eat between duties. "I just like to volunteer. Since I've retired I've made it my occupation to volunteer, and I volunteer at a number of places.

Lloyd Atkinson, also a member of the team that did all shopping, preparation, serving and clean up for last week's luncheon, explained what he gets out of it and why he'll keep doing it for as long as he can.

"You get caught up in volunteering with the people and the camaraderie, and things like that," Atkinson sassed. "It's good for the soul, and you feel good about doing it."

"Basically I like meeting people and making things happen," Ray Botti said. "I like to think I make a difference in their lives."

But it's not all glamorous, said the retired mechanical designer, a member of the Wellness Team for almost 15 years.

"Clean up is the worst part," Botti said with a chuckle.

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