WVGS has had a Volunteer Appreciation Program since at least 2012. We call it Volunteer of the Month (VOM) and try to honor someone at each monthly meeting. But sometimes there are special situations, and we want to honor a volunteer differently. Marie Beernink is one of those. Marie died last May. Even though I’ve been actively volunteering for five or six years, I didn’t know Marie. I occasionally met a lovely lady who was always smiling and quietly working. But it was long before I knew her name – Marie Beernink.

Marie was an “accessioner” – one of the volunteers who enters information into the Library catalog so all of us can find the missing pieces of our family history. Marie joined the Society in 1998 and volunteered shortly thereafter. She’s mentioned in Tidbits 46 times over the years, almost all announcements of new additions to our CD collections.

It turns out that she volunteered at other genealogical organizations including the Genealogy Library at the Arizona Archives as well as at Shriners Hospital and the Willowbrook United Methodist Church.

Through most of those years, Marie worked most closely with Linda McCleary who said: “She was always so pleasant when she came into the Librarian’s office to retrieve some of her volunteer materials. We would chat about our recent genealogical discoveries, the West Valley Symphony concerts, or the various WVGS activities. She organized the microfiche cabinet, making notations for subject headings for the various materials on the microfiche. Marie was a standard in the Library, and she always arrived early for her allotted time. Marie did her job, and she was always happy to help others. She is missed!”

We thought Marie embodied the kind of volunteer we would all like to be and decided it would be appropriate to rename the Appreciation Program itself for her. So, it’s now the Marie Beernink Volunteer Appreciation Program.

The following list gives you access to information on all Volunteers of the Month since May 2021.

West Valley Genealogical Society