Extol Issue #1 2022 | Page 23




Ceil Sperzel and 698 area seniors are making a lasting impact on Southern Indiana
By Angie Fenton | Photos by JD Dotson and courtesy images
Ceil Sperzel is on a mission .
In between answering questions from this writer , the quick-moving leader of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program ( RSVP ) with Hope Southern Indiana , a part of Americorps Seniors , is overseeing myriad other projects and fielding questions from volunteers and staff as they complete the arrangements of hundreds of flowers to be taken to Hosparus patients .
Ceil ’ s involvement at RSVP spans 32 years – and she has no plans to stop .
“ Well , it ’ s true I ’ ve been here for a long time , and I just find it fulfilling ,” she explains . “ I don ’ t know , it ’ s good work . At the end of the day , somebody will call and say , ‘ I don ’ t know what to do about this ,’ and it may not actually even be my job – and I may not know an answer – but I have a suggestion , which may or may not work . [ So ,] I ’ ll spend 20 to 30 minutes on the phone with someone , and realize that ’ s why I came here today . … Because I ’ ve been here so long , every day I guarantee you I have a list . And most of the time the most fulfilling things were not on it . They just happen during the day . So , when someone needs something … my favorite thing to say is ‘ Yes , we can .’ I just love that .” And – oh ! – how people love Ceil . “ She has been a blessing to Hope Southern Indiana ,” says Angie Graf , Hope ’ s executive director . “ I never have to question Ceil ’ s desire to assist seniors with meaningful service opportunities . She always has their best interest at heart , [ and …] she is never afraid to jump in and help on any project that has a senior component .”
Most days , “ Ceil beats the sun to work and ends her days answering emails and getting things done ,” Graf continues . “ She is not afraid of work . Ceil handles a large federal grant , and I never have to worry about her follow up or final reports . They are always shining , and she gets high remarks . Our [ Hope ] staff enjoy her personality and kindness toward the least of these . She truly cares and her light shines through .”
Accolades , though , at least to Ceil , should be reserved for her volunteers – all 698 of them .
“ The RSVP program is the path to service for people who might want to volunteer . Most of those are retired , and by the time they find they have time to do it , they ’ ve maybe done all of their honey-dos and they ’ ve traveled some , and they babysat for their grandchildren , and now they ’ re ready to find something else to do that keeps them active ,” Ceil says .
RSVP serves Clark , Floyd , Scott , Harrison and Jefferson counties in Southern Indiana , so it ’ s kind
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