Madison County Resident Wins North Florida Volunteer Of The Year

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By Rose Klein
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Area Agency on Aging for North Florida and Aging and Disability Resource Center held their Volunteer recognition dinner Jan. 23 in Tallahassee, where volunteers from 14 North Florida counties were recognized. Madison County volunteer Faye Ludwig, along with volunteers from Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington were all honored for giving their time and services to help those in need. Faye Ludwig was chosen out of 14 counties to be named as “Volunteer of the Year” for 2013. Ludwig said her volunteer career began when Rosa Richardson, Executive Director of the Senior Citizens Council, saw a dog that Ludwig made from yarn, in Florida University colors of blue and orange. Richardson asked if Ludwig could make dogs in other colors and asked her to also consider teaching the seniors at the center. The yarn dogs were a huge success, not just to make, but also to sell. Ludwig said that at one point, the center was bringing in two van loads of people who was making the dogs and when other people saw how cute they were, began buying them faster than they could be made. At that point, they were taking orders because they couldn’t get ahead and so much yarn was flying they renamed their craft room, “The Dog Den.” Profits from the dogs go towards special outings and get-togethers for the seniors. The production of the dogs may have started her volunteer career, but Ludwig feels it really began three years earlier when she suffered from a stroke. She ended up with some physical difficulties due to the stroke and along with her painful arthritis, prayed to God she would give back through volunteering if He would just get her through that hard time in her life. Ludwig said the volunteering has worked like therapy for her and encourages and enables her to do more everyday. Being named Volunteer of the Year was a complete surprise for Ludwig and said, “I never dreamed I’d get something like this.” She says they now have 15 to 20 steady volunteers and have expanded their crafting into quilted lap covers for the hospital in Madison and in nursing homes. They have made over 100 dogs and are still taking in orders, but have run into a financial bind and Ludwig is asking for donations of yarn, any kind of material, thread and terry cloth for adult bibs. Ludwig knows she is not an island unto herself and wants to recognize some of the people who helped her with this volunteer program: Ella Mae Brown, Lonnie Mae Robinson, Lisa Freeman, Angie Cisco, Nadine Akins, Annie Lou Holton, Mary Ellen Greene, Eartha, Lily, Freda and “everyone else that’s worked on these little dogs…and for you whose last names I didn’t list, you know who you are.” If you would like to donate any materials to Ludwig and her group of volunteers, or if you would like to volunteer your time to help make the dogs or lap covers, contact Angie Cisco at the Senior Center at (850) 973-4241.

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