Senior Corps RSVP volunteer Velma Osborn started volunteering in the 1950s, specifically she remembers in 1953 when she volunteered with St. Mary’s Hospital. One of the sisters approached Velma after noticing the wonderful work she was doing and asked if she was interested in adoption. That’s how Velma and her husband were able to adopt their first child- through volunteering. “I’ve been volunteering all of my life; I don’t know any different,” said Velma when asked what motivated her to volunteer. She is the definition of a lifelong volunteer, it runs in her blood and she enjoys her work.
Currently, Velma continues her hospital volunteer work at Ascension Via Christi Hospital, assists with the American Red Cross bloodmobiles, and creates items for local agencies at home. She makes bathrobes for wounded warriors, pillows for people in wheelchairs, fidget quilts for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and bags that local agencies can use when they provide items for people in need. Her items, especially the fidget quilts, have become popular throughout the area and have helped individuals in places including Westmoreland, Topeka, Wamego, Holton, and Manhattan.
Velma has been a Manhattan resident since 1949. She has seen the town grow and the need for volunteers grow as well. She recognizes the value and hopes for the future generations to embrace volunteering as she has over the years. She enjoys the work, feels that it’s where she is needed, and appreciates the opportunity to socialize with fellow volunteers.