Helen Thornton Green was posthumously honored with the Power of Service Award in September of 2021. The Utah Commission on Service & Volunteerism was proud to recognize Helen for her lifetime of dedication to serving her community.
Helen Green was a champion of causes that contribute to independence and a greater sense of social connectedness for aging seniors in our community. Among other initiatives, she volunteered with Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services Meals on Wheels program.
Helen helped frail and isolated seniors by delivering 1,300 hot nutritious meals through her service with Salt Lake County Meals on Wheels. The people she served could no longer prepare their own meals, and sometimes the meal she delivered was their only meal for the day. She was always willing to be flexible and wait for someone if they took a little longer than usual to answer the door, which was especially helpful as often, Helen was the only person the client would see that day. Her kind words and friendly smile meant a great deal to them. Her visit along with a hot meal was truly the highlight of their day. They experienced a greater sense of dignity because of her service. For the seniors Helen served, having access to hot nutritious meals and socialization was essential to maintaining health and the ability to remain independently in their own homes.
Vicki Jo Hansen, Division Volunteer Coordinator for the Senior Companion Program, recounted that Helen was a dependable and much needed presence in the lives of those she served, “Not just making sure these homebound and isolated individuals were fed, but Helen spent unbelievable amounts of time visiting with these individuals – they so much appreciated it. One client said she had no one else. No family or anyone. But she had her volunteer – Helen.”
Not just making sure these homebound and isolated individuals were fed, but Helen spend unbelievable amounts of time visiting with these individuals – they so much appreciated it. One client said she had no one else. No family or anyone. But she had her volunteer – Helen.Vicki Jo Hansen, Division Volunteer Coordinator, Senior Companion Program
Additionally, Helen also served for two years in the Meals Plus program. Local farmers donate fresh produce and volunteers convene one day per week to sort and prepare bags of the produce to be delivered to the people receiving Meals on Wheels home delivered meals. Helen was there every week during the four month growing season and even took some of the prep work with the bags home with her.
Helen was an amazing and dedicated volunteer who didn’t let anything stand in the way of helping people. She continued to serve and help others through her own life challenges. She was always smiling and so pleasant to be around. She was also willing to do substitute meal delivery to help make sure people get their meals if their delivery volunteer was ill or in need of coverage. She continued to deliver meals throughout COVID-19.
She lauded the health benefits she experienced and believed those to be a result of being active and engaged in volunteering and other activities. Helen set a fine example for other volunteers to follow of how just one person can make a tremendous difference in the lives of not only the people receiving service but in the life of the volunteer.
Helen delivered over 1,300 meals and gave more than 1,000 hours in service to seniors. She made a tremendous difference in the lives of the people she served. Her service is inspiring and truly vital to the older citizens she has served throughout Salt Lake County.
Paul Leggett, Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services Director and UServeUtah Commissioner, informed the commission that they have Helen’s portrait hanging in the hall of their office. “Every time we walk by her picture it reminds us of the importance of volunteering. What a wonderful legacy she left. She had a lifelong commitment to service. This award recognizes not only the extraordinary work she did on our behalf, but the work she did for the community her entire life.”
Every time we walk by her picture it reminds us of the importance of volunteering. What a wonderful legacy she left. She had a lifelong commitment to service. This award recognizes not only the extraordinary work she did on our behalf, but the work she did for the community her entire life.Paul Leggett, Director, Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services
We are grateful for the legacy Helen left and for the lives she touched through her service.