By Jen Butson
Gov. Jim Douglas recently held a reception for 57 of the state’s outstanding volunteers. Among them was Ruth Painter of Williston, whose lifetime of community service brought an honor with a long and weighty title: the Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Volunteer Community Service.
Painter has lived in the Williston area more than 50 years and has volunteered continuously. She worked part-time at Pine Ridge School helping children with reading, writing and spelling until 1995, when she started a private tutoring practice.
Now retired, she said that work never stopped her from volunteering. “I’ve been volunteering my entire life,” she said. “This isn’t something I just started doing now that I’m retired.”
Painter has combined her passions with helping others in many different volunteer programs. One of her favorite hobbies is gardening, and she has served the town’s Williston in Bloom program, which is in its third year and has twice took second place in national competitions.
”Look at all the fathers and mothers working just as hard being coaches or soccer moms,” she said. “They’re volunteering too, and they do a lot of good.
Douglas thanked and shook the hand of each volunteer at the ceremony.
The award is sponsored by the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service.
Painter said everyone should volunteer. She said a lot of people feel like they don’t have the time, but when they combine their interests with an effort, they are dually rewarded.