VISTE Annual Meeting Highlights Partnerships

At Wednesday’s Annual Meeting, Volunteers in Service to the Elderly officials reflected on a year of transition and growth. The meeting’s theme, Forward! echoed throughout the sentiments of VISTE President, Steve Bissonnette, as he shared the many ways in which VISTE has benefited from partnerships in the community.

“It is an honor to be part of VISTE at this point in time,” said Bissonnette. “This is a unique time in our existence, and the challenge for us is to continue to strengthen our mission so that in turn, we can continue to serve the growing needs of our clients. We could not do this without our committed staff, dedicated volunteers, and partners in the community.”

Sheriff Grady Judd, VISTE Campaign Chairman, was on hand to highlight VISTE’s partnership with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Weekend Inmate Work Program. He gave special commendation to the officers who oversee this program that has provided great benefits for VISTE in the past year. The Weekend Inmate Work Program’s participants recently pressure-washed and painted VISTE headquarters. Honored for their efforts in facilitating this project were Detention Deputy Timothy Lacey, Detention Deputy Carl Kienzle, Sgt. Jonathan O’Niell. Major Mike Allen and Chief Bill Slaybaugh were also in attendance, along with family members of those recognized. Also commended for their efforts were Sherwin Williams’ South Lakeland Store Manager Devon Cardullo, and Chris Harris, owner of Hollywood Signs in Bartow. Mr. Cardullo donated paint for the project, and Mr. Harris donated three new VISTE signs for the building.

In addition to the Sheriff’s commendation, other community partners were also honored. Steve Bissonnette presented Certificates of Appreciation to the Highland Fairways Angels, Boring Business Systems, FedEx, and the Carillon Lakes Activity Committee. Each of these businesses or organizations provided gifts in kind and volunteer efforts in 2014, and continue to do so into 2015.

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to give back,” said Ellen Welch of the Carillon Lakes Activity Committee. Carillon Lakes residents have collected Christmas gifts for clients through their Senior Angel Tree for three years. “We are just happy to have an outlet to help others.”