RSM Volunteers of the Year 2019

Thursday, February 7, 2019
The individuals who work with St. Mary’s recycling were chosen as the RSM Volunteers of the Year for 2019. The group was chosen for their dedication and consistent hard work in preparing goods for recycling. Donations of throw-away paper and cardboard from the Remsen Community, as well as individuals and businesses from surrounding towns has helped the group to earn over $20,000 for St. Mary’s Schools since late May of 2016. Those who regularly work with the program and accepted the invitation to attend the Catholic Schools Week family picnic (not knowing of the surprise announcement) are pictured. They are, pictured above from right to left: Paul Galles, Dick Roder, Eileen Holzman, Mike Arens, Larry Kobberman, Todd Gerrietts, Mary Riedemann, Bill Petters, Jacob Gerrietts, Joyce Draayer, Jake Draayer, Laurie Gerrietts, Isaiah Gerrietts, and Norine Harvey.
(Photo by RSM HS Journalism)

Although many of the Catholic School’s Week (CSW) activities were postpone due to the frigid temperatures, Friday, February 1, turned out to be a balmy day. The mild weather came just in time for the closing of CSW with Mass at RSM cafeteria and a family picnic. It has become tradition to recognize a person who was nominated for the Volunteer of the year award at the family picnic. The judges had an especially tough job this year to choose one from the three very deserving This year the volunteer award goes to a group of people. The group nominated contribute selflessly to our school. They are the volunteers who regularly work with St. Mary’s Recycling.

These dedicated individuals can be found regularly accepting and sorting the dropped off recycling, baling cardboard, and loading the trailer. They are Bill Peters, Larry Kobberman, Rich and Mary Riedemann, Jake Draayer, Mike Arens, Paul Galles and Laurie Gerrietts. First Saturday of the Month helpers include the regular weekday helpers along with Denny and Linda Slota, Joyce Draayer, Todd and Laurie Gerrietts family, Frank Weber, and Norine Harvey.

Those who regularly pick up from businesses weekly are Bob Gengler, Gary and Eileen Holzman, Marv Pottebaum, Ted Nothem, Dick Roder, Mark Ruba, Duey Majeres, Greg Gentz, and Rich and Mary Riedemann. Truckers who pull the semi-trailer to the recycle center include Arens Trucking, Loren Schnepf, Pete Galles, Dan Nilles, and Chad Ohlendorf. All of the pickup and delivery drivers donate the use of their vehicle and fuel in addition to their time to help with the program. There are also occasional workers or substitute drivers who are not mentioned, but know that we are thankful to each and every one of you, and we always welcome new workers!

You may remember that our first ever Volunteer of the Year Award back in 2009 went to Paige Harpenau. Paige was on the RSM School Board at the time when Doug Owens, representing Remsen-Union School, pitched the idea to the board about the two schools cooperating in a community recycling project. Paige, in cooperation with the public school and the City of Remsen, was instrumental in getting grant awards for a cardboard baler and a fork lift for the recycling program in the Remsen community. Thanks again, Paige!

It was a rocky start with the program being housed in a hog facility, and then in storage sheds. Through cooperation and help of the City of Remsen, a building was built to house the program. Remsen-Union and Remsen St. Mary’s sophomore classes, chaperoned by their parents and teachers, picked up and sorted recycling from businesses and schools and accepted recycling from the public on Saturday mornings. The Class of 2018 was the last class to work with the recycling program.

When the public school went to grade sharing, the R-U administration bowed out of the program, as there would no longer be public high school students in Remsen to help with the program. The RSM administration decided it was too much for our students and chaperones to handle on their own. The recycling program in Remsen was slated to end.

Some staunch RSM supporters stepped forward proposing to the RSM administration that the program continue with adult volunteers, with the profits to go to St. Mary’s School. With the “OK” of the RSM administration, the Remsen City Council was approached. The RSM group received the blessing of the City to keep the program going. In late May of 2016, the St. Mary’s Recycling program was underway. Drop off times were expanded, adding an hour on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for paper and cardboard to be dropped off, while keeping the mornings of the First Saturday of the month drop off time. 

Since its inception in late May of 2016, 18 semi-trailer loads of recycled product has been delivered to the recycle center. The group has generated over 257 tons of recycled product and garnered over $20,000.00 for St. Mary’s Schools.

You may have noticed that this is a mostly senior citizen crowd. On most any day of the week you can find volunteers who just stop in to see “if there is work to be done.” In the heat of summer and cold of winter (in an uninsulated shed) they do their work! $20,000.00 has been raised by this group because they have chosen to volunteer with the recycle program to raise funds for St. Mary’s Schools, while also saving God’s beautiful planet. None of this is possible without the public’s support in delivering your throw-a-ways to the recycle program. Thank you!

The group has become a close knit community of support and are always gracious and thankful to those who drop off their paper and cardboard. We commend the recycle workers for your dedicated participation in this labor of love, and thank you for all the work and resources put in to the St. Mary’s Recycling program.

Congratulations to the RSM Recycle Workers on being selected as the RSM Volunteers of the Year for 2019!