(Garrett Estrada photo) RSVP Field Representative John Lampros is available at his office on Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(Garrett Estrada photo)
RSVP Field Representative John Lampros is available at his office on Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

John Lampros described his 40 years of serving in local government as 37 years of fun and helping people and then three years of frustration and arguing. Now that he is out of politics and working as the Ely Field Representative for RSVP, he said he is back to having fun and helping others in need.

“I’m enjoying it immensely. I’m working with people I’ve known most of my life and it is just a fun thing to do,” Lampros said of his relatively new position.

Lampros took over the field representative position from Geri Wopshal on April 1 and hasn’t looked back to his days in government. In fact, now he is the one asking for help on the state and federal level. The RSVP program, a nationwide senior assistance service, is funded by the state and federal government. While he spent decades serving the public as the person to come to to ask for funding, now he finds himself in their shoes.

“Our biggest challenge right now is getting transportation,” Lampros said in regards to RSVP’s limited driving abilities. “The problem is that most of the funding goes to Clark County and we are only allowed to have our drivers drive 30 miles a month. But we are in the process of trying to get a dedicated RSVP van.”

Transportation is only one of the services RSVP offers to local seniors but it is also one of the most important according to Lampros. As part of the transportation program, RSVP will pick up seniors and take them to medical appointments, to pick up prescriptions or even just to take them shopping or to socialize. The way Lampros describes it, the program is meant to allow seniors to be able to live in their own homes and still have access to all the activities they need to partake in without having to relocate to a care center.

“I am a senior myself so I look at it as I would be more comfortable living in my home and having someone help me then having to live in a center,” he said.

The non-profit organization’s efforts try to further that comfort of home living by also offering “home companions” to provide emotional support, socialization and human contact for seniors unable to leave their homes. Other services include probono legal services for low income and homebound seniors as well as a Philips Lifeline system that can provide immediate access to emergency services if needed. The lifeline systems, which look like a simple button that allows seniors to call for help from anywhere they are, were offered fro around $1 but are now free in a limited quantity thanks to a $2,100 grant from social services.

But while Lampros is happy to continue serving the sneiors that are already registered in the free program, he knows that there are more in the community that need help. That is why he is making a push to expand the both the awareness of RSVP’s services and help increase registration. One of the way’s he plans on doing that is by starting a 30-minute program at 8 a.m. on KELY 1230, an AM radio station hosted by Ken Kliewer. Lampros hopes that by spreading the message of what RSVP can offer seniors in the community that more will be able to utilize the organization as a resource and live more comfortably.

For more information on things going on with RSVP, see Lampros’s weekly column on page 4A.

Those that would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the program can mail in their contribution to P.O. Box 1708, Carson City, NV 89702 or visit RSVP’s website at www.nevadaruralrsvp.com.