2013 Grace Award Presented to Mark Restrepo

mark rMark Restrepo’s dedicated service to the elderly exemplifies these virtues. For the last 15 years, as a volunteer in CWC’s Convalescent Hospital Program, Mark has visited countless residents at several facilities. He has also help to recruit other CWC volunteers and to promote CWC to the community. The Citizens Who Care Board of Directors presented Mark with the 2013 Grace Award in February. CWC asked Mark to reflect on his personal experience of serving as a long-time CWC volunteer. His comments follow

Reflections on Serving – One Man’s Experience

by Mark Restrepo, CWC Volunteer

It was with great appreciation to Ellie Slaven and the CWC Board, and well as with my wife Rebecca’s support and God’s never-ending love and strength, that I accepted the Grace Award for 2013. I had been aware that Grace Hiddleson was the first recipient in 2004, so I decided to look up the first name origin and meaning which comes from the Latin for blessing.

My journey of care began with my mother, who gave me a heart for the elderly and who passed away in Philadelphia in April 1996. Although I wasn’t looking for volunteer opportunities, it was at a Volunteer Fair at the Episcopal Church of St. Martin in the fall of 1996 where I first encountered and was drawn immediately to CWC. With my aging father remaining far away, and having had three of my four grandparents pass away in nursing homes, I became motivated to do something nearby. After several years of commitment to weekly visitation to residents I was matched with by Ellie, I began to expand my field of vision to interacting with others (mostly men). I knew I was hooked when I chose not to golf (on occasion), instead lengthening my visits, and I started calling residents “my people”. My service with CWC was fueled further by my “born again” faith, as a member of First Baptist Church of Davis for the past nine years. This valuable time with CWC also served to lay a good foundation for my participation in the multidenominational Stephen Ministry, which has been active at FBC for the past six years.

Although I am someone who prefers to keep a low profile, it was a wonderful blessing to receive the Grace Award for doing my part to help fill a void that the elderly experience with isolation. Truthfully, I can only credit my sixteen years of faithful service to the fact that I serve the one true God who is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made.

I also wish to share this great meditation (from henrinouwen.org/)

Care, the Source of All Cure

Care is something other than cure.
Cure means “change”. A doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a social worker-they all want to use their professional skills to bring about changes in people’s lives. They get paid for whatever kind of cure they can bring about. But cure, desirable as it may be, can easily become violent, manipulative, and even destructive if it does not grow out of care.
Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am.
When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift.
Often we are not able to cure, but we are always able to care.
To care is to be human.

~ Henri J. M. Nouwen

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This website was originally created by James Hutchison