The Council on Aging recently honored the scores of volunteers who help out at the drop-in center on Mammoth Road: From left, Volunteers of the Year Ruth Chappas and Lucille Bonanno, Sen. Sue Tucker, Rep. Colleen Garry, Knights of Columbus member Ed Gertz, police Lt. Michael Fleury, Knights member Chet Pater and COA Board of Director member Bill O’Neil. VALLEY DISPTACH/DENNIS SHAUGHNESSEY
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DRACUT — Jean Driscoll has been a volunteer at the Dracut Council on Aging drop-in center for 27 years.

“I used to do it with my husband, Dick, who passed away over a year ago,” she said. “He had a master key and we would open up and get the Meals on Wheels ready. We had our favorites and we knew what they liked and what they didn’t like.”

Driscoll was one of 65 people who were honored for their volunteerism on June 25. COA Executive Director Joyce Shadan told the group that their efforts have lasting impacts and reap untold benefits.

“You tell me all the time that it keeps you going,” Shadan said. “Well, you keep us all going and you keep the other seniors going. A lot of our programs couldn’t continue if you did not do what you do every day.”

Members of the Knights of Columbus were on hand for the event, which included a catered dinner courtesy of Scola’s restaurant. The Knights recently purchased a $1,600 gas stove for the senior center, which will come in handy as volunteers prepare for the Meals on Wheels program.

“You make our jobs easier,” Shadan told the group. “I see what other councils on aging are going through in other towns and I’m always amazed at what we are able to do here.”

Also honored were members of the Dracut Police Department’s Community Policing Unit and the Dracut Fire Department.

“They were here quite a bit when the pilot on the old stove kept going out,” Shadan said.

Ruth Chappas was named Volunteer of the Year for her work with the seniors. Lucille Bonanno, bereavement coordinator with Beacon Hospice, was also named Volunteer of the Year for her work with seniors who have recently lost a loved one.

“Be proud of the work you do,” said Shadan. “You are a very important resource. You are the heartbeat of this place and this is the best place in town.”