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Volunteer Spotlight: Larry Abernathy

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Meet the Project Warm-Up volunteer and Advisory Council member who brings smiles everywhere he goes. Part of a new series highlighting the stories of RSVP volunteers.

RSVP Director's Foreword: One of the great privileges I enjoy as RSVP Director is the opportunity to get to know our volunteers and capture their remarkable stories of service. Every other week, I'll be bringing you profiles of the dedicated older adults who exemplify the values that RSVP and national service are built on.

Volunteer: Larry Abernathy

Volunteer Station: Project Warm-Up/RSVP Advisory Council

RSVP Member Since: 2014

As a dedicated member of the RSVP Advisory Council, Larry Abernathy is a familiar face at just about every RSVP event. He is also a prolific contributor to Project Warm-Up, completing dozens of hats and lap blankets each year, all showcasing his flair for fun, colorful designs. When RSVP tables at health expos, volunteer fairs, and other community events, Larry will frequently hang out at our table with whatever project he's currently working on. His crocheting tends to attract people to our table better than any flyer or brochure ever could!

Prior to joining RSVP, Larry worked at a local HVAC company until a workplace injury forced him to stop working. While looking for ways to stay occupied and productive, he ran into a friend whose girlfriend volunteered for RSVP Project Warm-Up. Upon learning how the program works, he was intrigued.

I thought it wild, the idea that someone would give me yarn at no cost to make things for others. I thought, "Come on, man, where's the catch?"

The first time he helped at a Project Warm-Up Sorting & Distribution, Larry was blown away by the magnitude of our volunteers' contributions - Project Warm-Up gives away 10 to 15,000 handmade items every year!

Knowing that every hat or blanket he crochets will help someone stay warm in the wintertime motivates Larry to continue volunteering. Not to mention, when he's out on the street or at Wal-Mart and sees someone wearing a piece he made, it puts a little pep in his step every time.

There have been a few times where I needed help and it was colder than cold. I believe in karma.

Currently, Larry is focusing on making small scarves he refers to as "neck warmers." Here are his three latest pieces:

Through Project Warm-Up and his service on the Advisory Council, Larry has made many new friends and gained a new appreciation for the importance of listening and collaboration. It helps that he's an extremely easy person to collaborate with! He's quick with a grin and a joke, and always pitches in with enthusiasm whenever there's an opportunity to be of service.

Smiles are free, so we sprinkle that stuff wherever we go.

Thank you Larry, for all that you do! RSVP volunteers like you make our entire community stronger.

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