The Paso Robles Senior Center opened its doors on July 1 with a reopening celebration

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Senior Center celebrated its reopening on Jul. 1 after being closed due to the pandemic.

The celebration included Senior Volunteer Services, through AmeriCorps Seniors, honoring two Paso Robles residents with two of its most prestigious awards, recognizing their contribution to the community through volunteering.

William (Bill) Pluma was honored with the Carol Conway Award.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The Carol Conway Award is given to an individual who embraces volunteerism on all levels.

Pluma considers himself a professional volunteer and community advocate. For Pluma, “Volunteering opens the door to learning, camaraderie, and community service.” Bill has been a volunteer for over 20 years. In 2007, Pluma received a Presidential Award from President Bush. President Bush recognized him for volunteering over 4000 hours in two consecutive years. He has been instrumental in the building of the Food Bank Program. When part of the Food Bank, Pluma began the grocery store Food Barrel Program. In addition to this, he is on the Board of Directors for the Toy Bank of the greater Paso Robles area for over 24 years, being President for 17 years and Chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the last seven years. However, this is still not all.

As a member of the Optimist Club, Pluma works with local high school students who are part of the Junior Optimist Club. Pluma also started the Main Street Spelling Bee, which is held in the downtown park.

Pluma encourages all seniors to volunteer. He says, “Seniors have the advantage of time and life experience that makes them perfect candidates for volunteerism.”

Alexis Okumura, Director of Senior Volunteer Services, says, “Anyone who knows Bill Pluma knows that he puts his heart and soul into every project he takes on…in doing so, he inspires others to do the same.”

Steve Austin received the Director’s Award. This award is given to the individual who serves the Senior Volunteer Services program.

Austin has served on the Board of Directors for the Senior Volunteer Services Program as Treasurer for seven years.

Alexis Okumura said, “Steve is a quintessential gentleman, quietly providing his essential expertise to SVS.”

In addition to Alexis Okumura, Steve Martin, Mayor of Paso Robles, Greg Carpenter, Interim City Manager, a representative from John Peschong’s office, City Councilman Fred Strong, and many others were in attendance.

Both winners want to encourage all who can to volunteer in their community.

Many of these organizations depend on their volunteers to keep their doors open.

Micki Wright, Coordinator of the Paso Robles Senior Center, stated, “Our volunteers make it possible to provide services and activities to our older adult population.”

If you are over 55, contact Senior Volunteer Services at (805)544-8740. Senior Volunteer Services through Americorps Seniors recruits and matches volunteers with a community service organization.