Ask not what your county can do for you ...

Some people like to volunteer, Bill Modesitt loves it. As of April 6, 2009, the Ashland Police Volunteer has racked up 8,973 hours of volunteer service in 1,820 days since 1992. As a result of this passion, Modesitt received the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Award for Jackson County's Volunteer of the Year at the annual National Volunteer Week luncheon held at the Red Lion Inn in Medford on April 22.

Ashland Volunteers in Police Service Coordinator Olaf Paul said Modesitt has worked many more hours since then, probably equaling 9,000 hours of service.

That's slightly less than four and a half years of full-time, 40 hours per week employment. According to Paul, the total time doesn't even count the hours spent helping people when he is away from home and not on duty.

The attendance at the luncheon was a tribute to the man who has been consistent throughout his 15 years of service.

Ashland Police Director of Community Volunteers, LT. Frank d'Entremont, said, "the place was filled, and they have a big room."

Ashland Police Deputy Chief Rich Walsh was also impressed by the turnout.

"I wasn't expecting to walk into this luncheon and see a thousand people," said Walsh. "It was a well-deserved award for a guy that doesn't like to receive accolades. Bill is genuinely a very caring and compassionate man."

Nobody was more surprised than Modesitt himself.

"I was a bit shocked because there were so many folks who do more than I do," Modesitt said. "I was also very happy to receive it."

Concerning Modesitt's work ethic, Walsh explained that he is the kind of guy that nobody notices while he's working, not wanting to interfere with the operations of the police department.

"He is absolutely invaluable to the police department," Walsh said. "If we didn't have volunteers like him, the police officers would have to do these things."

Modesitt has probably performed every task possible for a police volunteer. These days he splits his time between washing the police fleet, weekend house check, and volunteering for special events like the Fourth of July, always coming through in times of need.

"He does the vacation house check on Saturdays and Sundays," Paul said. "It's nice because most people don't want to work weekends."

After moving to Ashland from Riverside, Calif., in 1992, Modesitt began volunteering almost immediately at the now defunct Pacific Northwest Museum of Natural History. He then moved on to police service in 1994. His wife, Mary Margaret, who has been volunteering at the Police Contact Station on the Plaza for the past six months, has recently joined him in public service.

Possibly the best testament to Modesitt was written by d'Entremont in his nomination letter to the RSVP awards committee.

"Bill is an indispensable person and we wish we had 20 more like him," d'Entremont wrote. "The man has done more than any other volunteer consistently over his 15 years with this agency. Anytime we need something done, Bill is always the first to volunteer his time."

Modesitt, who guessed his age at 75 and a half, has no plans to stop serving the Ashland community.

"I like doing it so much, I'll do it as long as I last," he said.

Share This Story