Meet RSVP's Birthday BettyWritten by Patricia Dowling on 2012-07-31
When each RSVP volunteer’s birthday rolls around, RSVP delivers a greeting and a cheerful round of “Happy Birthday” --- not through a musical Hallmark card, but through our beloved Birthday Betty!
Birthday Betty is RSVP volunteer Betty Leicht. For the past three years, she has faithfully checked her list each morning to find out which RSVP volunteers are celebrating birthdays, and then begins her calls. If the phone is busy, or there’s no answer, she’ll try again later to reach the volunteer, or she’ll leave a musical message. If she’s unable to reach a volunteer because the phone number is incorrect or no longer in service, she’ll call the RSVP office so that we can try to find a correct number and she can complete her mission to deliver a happy greeting. Remember – RSVP has over 1000 volunteers, so that’s a lot of phone calls!
We’ve received calls from happy and surprised volunteers to thank us for the nice birthday call or message that they received from Birthday Betty on their special day.
“I enjoy doing it,” said Betty, “I like to meet new people, and it’s fun to make so many people happy by remembering their birthdays. Some people just say thank you, and others enjoy a longer conversation. In fact, some volunteers call me back just to talk after their birthday is over.”
Anna Brohman, RSVP volunteer at Ladies of Charity, was delighted to receive a call from Betty on her birthday in July. "It meant a lot to me. It was a lot more personal than a card. I don't have family around here, so I really appreciated that someone called to say happy birthday."
Betty is a country girl whose parents both worked on the railroad. She and her husband, Leonard, lived next to a cemetery on Boston-Colden Road for most of the married life. When the elderly caretaker of the cemetery died, the owner approached Leonard and Betty to ask if they would fill in for a while until other arrangements could be made. They ended up “filling in” for 35 years. She and Leonard mowed the grass, trimmed around the tombstones, and yes, they even dug graves by hand!
Betty recently was diagnosed with cancer, and is going through treatment, but she won’t let this stop her from making her appointed rounds to deliver birthday greetings. If you’d like to send your own greeting and get well wishes to Betty, just e-mail or call us and we’ll make sure she gets your message!