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Volunteers Honored at Annual 'Hall of Fame' Event

"I think the highest calling for most of us is to serve others," said Gail Harris, social worker.

The Libertyville Senior Council held its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony Thursday afternoon to recognize local volunteers. 

Sixteen people were honored at the ceremony after being nominated by various local organizations. 

"It is an honor to be here to recognize those who have contributed volunteer work in the community," said Jim King, vice president of the Senior Council.

After a prayer from Pastor Stephen Williams of the United Methodist Church of Libertyville, keynote speaker Gale Harris addressed the crowd of volunteers and their friends and families.

Harris, a licensed clinical social worker who works with a senior outreach program, talked about the importance of volunteering. The benefits of volunteering were shared with her by a former boss while she worked in sales.

"It gives your life purpose. He said you have to give to something bigger than yourself," said Harris. "I have taken that to heart and I have done that."

Harris shared stories of clients who felt their lives had no purpose until they started volunteering their time. One man has Parkinson's and can't get around his house. Harris said the man "felt like he should just take all of his pills and check out."

Harris discovered that the man used to enjoy helping his neighbors, which prompted Harris to suggest that he volunteer his time talking to newly-diagnosed Parkinson's patients.

"I told him, 'There are a lot of people who have recently been diagnosed with this disease and they're terrified, and you would be a good spokesman to help them,'" said Harris. "He brightened up considerably after that."

She spoke of a current client who is paralyzed. The woman spends a lot of time on the computer, finding and printing out things to cheer up other people, and Harris hands them out. 

"I think the highest calling for most of us is to serve others," Harris said. "Keep up the good work. It's good for you and for the people that you're helping."

Please look through our photo gallery and read about each of the individuals who were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Libertyville Trustee Jay Justice handed out the awards.

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