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Local radiothon raises funds for senior program

Roughly one week after being denied financial assistance from the Pahrump town board, a local agency is set to receive a helping hand from the “Big Voice of the Valley.”

KNYE 95.1 FM station owner Karen Jackson hosted a radiothon Tuesday to raise funds for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which is organized locally by Jan Lindsey.

The program provides a myriad of services to the valley’s disabled senior population, including transportation, pro bono legal services and home companionship.

One crucial program known as Respite Care Services is in danger of ending if RSVP doesn’t raise $7,500.

The program provides respite to caregivers, both family members and professionals who provide full-time care to area seniors suffering from debilitating medical conditions.

On Monday, Jackson said she was disappointed that the town board chose not to help fund the program.

“I was extremely upset and Jan Lindsey does so much for our seniors in the community. This is not a luxury. This is absolutely a necessity for our community. Aside from that, they (the town board) waste so much money on everything else and it really fried me when they turned RSVP down,” she said.

During this month’s town board meeting, an RSVP agenda item died after no motion was made by board members.

RSVP Executive Director Susan Haas said that respite care assistance is crucial in lowering the stress levels of caregivers, by giving them a break to allow a healthier existence and longer life expectancy, and preventing the institutionalization of their loved ones.

Respite care is a free service provided by the organization and provides an option for low income senior to remain in their homes.

“RSVP has been serving Pahrump seniors for over 28 years now and in 2012 we were able to help keep 134 low-income seniors at home and out of costly care facilities with dignity. We are asking you to help us keep providing these services with minimum funding assistance of $7,500, which is only a small portion of our total cost. When you compare that amount to having to institutionalize just one indigent senior at $75,000 annually, it makes fiscal sense to help RSVP keep them at home. It’s the right thing to do,” Haas said.

At present the program serves 16 families in the area and approximately 60 families have utilized the service since the program’s inception.

One local resident who chose not to be identified said without RSVP, performing her day to day tasks would be nearly impossible.

She has been a client for more than five years.

“Since my husband passed away, I don’t have transportation. I don’t own a car and if I did, I couldn’t drive it anyway because I turned in my license years ago. Life goes on and you have to make doctor appointments. These people are all volunteers and they don’t really get paid anything. They do get a little stipend to help them with their gas but it’s not near enough. They use their own vehicles. My volunteer is so polite and it’s like having a son. He is just wonderful. I would be lost without him,” she said.

Lindsey said this week that she is very fortunate to have the community’s support for the program.

She noted that the financial assistance will allow the program to continue for at least another year.

“I just can’t believe how much support we are getting. I was asking the town for $7,500 for a year and that is counting eight respite volunteers, so that’s not a whole lot of money when you look at it for a year’s service. You hear so many negative things about Pahrump and sometimes it just really grates on my nerves. There are indeed a lot of good people in this town and I am very grateful that Karen has taken this up,” she said.

Jackson’s radiothon continued throughout the day.

She has also approached local business owners to jump on board.

“I have contacted Ron Frazier from Frazier Furniture and he is calling all of his business friends. I also advised Jan to talk to Valley Electric Association to apply to be a recipient of the ‘round up program’ because they can award as much as $1,600. Last year, 52 senior volunteers gave 13,727 hours of their time in Pahrump to help others who are less fortunate.

RSVP officials say the independent sector places a value of $21.79 per hour on volunteer services. That totals close to $300,000.

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