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Helping others as a team

  • The Service to Seniors honorees. Chamber President Katie Kerns Davis, left, stands with Nancy Streeter, Alice Rovegno, Ginny Cox, Elece Hempel of PPSC, and Vice Mayor Chris Albertson.

They're known as the Senior Caf?Musketeers and together, Nancy Streeter, Alice Rovegno and Ginny Cox were honored at the Community Awards of Excellence ceremony on March 14 for their service to seniors.

Streeter, 86, Rovegno, 84 and Cox, 93, met one another when they began coming to Petaluma People Services' Senior Caf?more than 10 years ago. The three women have formed a deep friendship over the years through their volunteer service at the Senior Caf?

"I can always rely on Alice (Rovegno) and Ginny (Cox)," said Streeter. "Whenever I need them they're always there."

"Well, Nancy (Streeter) is the only one of us who drives, so she's our chauffer," said Rovegno jokingly. "In reality, we've all become very good friends and it's been wonderful."

But camaraderie is not the only thing these women engage in at the Senior Caf? Elece Hempel, PPSC's executive director, said that without the help of these three women, the Senior Caf?would not be able to offer as many services as it does.

"Frankly, I don't know how we would run the caf?without them," said Hempel. "The money we save through their volunteering means more meals, more staff, more services for everyone else. They are a gift."

Together, Streeter, Rovegno and Cox logged more than 4,000 volunteer hours at the Senior Caf?last year, greeting more than 50 customers per day, keeping track of birthdays, knowing who is coming in for service and collecting payments. "They really are the heart of the caf?" Hempel added.

For the three women, time spent at the caf?is pure joy. "We do it because we know how lonely life can be as an elderly person," said Rovegno. "This gives us something to do, and lets us help others as well."

"I love meeting people," said Streeter. "The (elderly) community in Petaluma is so friendly around here and I just love making people feel like the caf?is their home."

Now retired, these women are no strangers to working hard. Streeter was an insurance agent for more than 30 years, Cox worked for Hewlett Packard and Rovegno was a waitress in Atlantic City before coming to Petaluma. Both Cox and Rovegno were members of the Women's Army Corp, with Cox retiring from service as a lieutenant and Rovegno retiring as a private.

Now all grandmothers, the women say they enjoy helping others at the caf?and hope to continue doing it for the foreseeable future. "We'll do it until we can't anymore," said Streeter. Even in their 80s and 90s, these Senior Caf?Musketeers show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at janelle.wetzstein@arguscourier.com)


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