If Belle was involved in a project, you knew it was going to get done.” said Roger Wess when reflecting on fellow volunteer, Belvadine “Belle” Lecher.
Belle was celebrated recently at the Dawes & Sioux County RSVP Appreciation Luncheon. Belle, 95, has served as a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program volunteer for 30 years, and her volunteer life goes back more than a decade beyond that.
Through the years Belle has served the American Cancer Society, the Genealogy Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the WWII Commemorative Committee. She has volunteered in the schools and tutored in Adult Basic Education. Belle answered the call to help at blood drives, the Chadron Senior Center, the Chadron Public Library and was a dedicated volunteer at the United Methodist Church, but her true passion was history. She has served multiple terms as the president of the Dawes County Historical Society, as well as volunteer curator at the Dawes County Historical Museum.
Accolades for Belle are nothing new. She was named as Citizen of the Year in 2008 by the Chadron Record for her contributions to the community in 2007, and her efforts have been highlighted by civic and community service awards from a variety of organizations.
Although her contributions are many, two of her most notable accomplishments include: writing and publishing the Diaries of Billy the Bear Iaeger, a living, documented history of Chadron; and the founding of History in Action Day at the Dawes County Historical Museum.
“Belle was always looking for ways to preserve and promote history. She has a passion for history and loves to share it, especially with the kids. Belle and her volunteers made it possible for kids to experience a little piece of the past, whether it was an antique typewriter, a hand crank corn sheller, an apple cider press or a ride in a horse drawn wagon. Belle really inspired a love of history and made a lasting impact on the youth. Her volunteer leadership and innovation are to be applauded.” said RSVP Director Rachel Johnson.
In describing Belle, her fellow volunteers used words like tireless, dedicated, passionate and gracious. When asked about her favorite part of volunteer service, Belle answered quickly, saying “The wonderful people I worked with.”
Mutual admiration is a testimony to the great built under Belle’s leadership. Like so many RSVP volunteers, Belle fully commits to her service. At the RSVP luncheon, volunteers recited the Senior Corps Pledge and the last two lines describe Belle to a tee: “Working for the greatest good, I will use my lifetime of experiences to improve my country, my community, and myself through service. I am a Senior Corps RSVP volunteer and I will get things done.”
RSVP is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service through Northwest Community Action Partnership.