Aug 23, 2017

Sandoval County volunteer earns NM Aging and Long-Term Services Public Service Award

Marion Lustig is the ultimate public servant. She has spent the past 22 years working faithfully at Storehouse West, a non-profit agency in Rio Rancho that provides food, children's clothing and hygiene supplies to families, seniors, and individuals experiencing short-term and long-term need.

Lutstig’s main job is interviewing people who come to the agency, and helping them resolve their immediate crisis. However, she handles many other duties.

For instance, she is the liaison between the officials who manage the Sandoval County Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the network of senior citizens who donate their time working at libraries, hospitals and non-profit agencies across the county.

In fact, Lustig is one of those retired senior volunteers. She also is the winner of the 2017 New Mexico Conference on Aging Public Service Award. She received the award on August 16, during the annual Conference on Aging sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long-Term Services.

Sandy Escarcida, Sandoval County’s volunteer services coordinator, said she nominated Lustig for this award because Lustig’s desire to help others—without reward or recognition—is so obvious.

Purely altruistic

“Marion’s reasons for volunteering are purely altruistic,” Escarcida said. “She says that when she volunteers she knows she’s doing something worthwhile for her community.”

Escarcida also noted that Lustig started volunteering more than 40 years ago, when she was class mother and a PTA board member at her sons’ school in New York. Her other volunteer jobs included a 10-year stint at a thrift shop that raised money to purchase medical equipment that was then loaned to people who couldn’t afford to buy it for themselves.

So, joining the Retired Senior Volunteer Program—and working at Storehouse West—was a natural fit when Lustig and her husband moved to New Mexico.

“With her many years working at Storehouse West, she has always emphasized how vital volunteers are to the organization,” Escarcida said. “That’s why she does her best to never miss her shift, and she always tells new volunteers the importance of being committed and dedicated to what they do.”

Lustig demonstrated why she deserved the Public Service Award in her brief acceptance speech. “I wish I could share this prestigious award with every volunteer,” she said. “Volunteering is very rewarding to us personally. Our lives are enriched by helping other people. I accept this award on behalf of all volunteers.”