Retired Men’s Association marks milestone

Kirsten Sanchez Members and supporters of the Retired Men’s Association give themselves a hand as they celebrate the anniversary of the organization.

Kirsten Sanchez
Members and supporters of the Retired Men’s Association give themselves a hand as they celebrate the anniversary of the organization.

big hip, hip, hooray sounded from First Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, Oct. 8, as the Retired Men’s Association (RMA) of Greenwich celebrated its 60th anniversary.

Excitement and nostalgia filled the room as most of the 250 members reminisced on the history of the club and told jokes and stories of times past. The day not only marked yet another anniversary but 60 years of  friendship, volunteerism and service. The group has been meeting continually over the last 60 years and members say they are built on a foundation of community service with their volunteer hours totaling more than 35,000 a year — and camaraderie.

Founded in 1954, RMA’s purpose is to provide a venue for the friendly association of men who have an interest in volunteerism, fellowship and service.

“I have learned how the RMA, through its volunteer work and involvement, plays an integral role in helping so many people in the community,” said board of directors member and publicity director Bernard Schneider. “It does so with virtually no fanfare or publicity —  volunteerism and service for its own sake. At a personal level, a bunch of great guys.”

The Oct. 8 celebration included a song by the Melody Men, RMA history and reflections, an honoring of past RMA presidents, an ode to the RMA written by member Martin Grayson, the presentation of a proclamation to the RMA and a speech on “the role that volunteers play in the community” by First Selectman Peter Tesei.

First Selectman Peter Tesei, along with Selectman Drew Marzullo, had a proclamation honoring the RMA. – Kirsten Sanchez

First Selectman Peter Tesei, along with Selectman Drew Marzullo, had a proclamation honoring the RMA. – Kirsten Sanchez

“This is a momentous occasion for the RMA,” Mr. Tesei said as he appeared at the celebration with a proclamation honoring the RMA’s long history. “And the RMA certainly with fellowship volunteerism and community service speaks to the underlying values that have endured in the community for what I would say is now a century, and I think to me it’s all encapsulated in legacy. We all look at legacy from many different perspectives. We talk about our community legacy and our individual legacies and they are very much intertwined.”

He added, “Clearly what all of you have decided to do with your post-retirement careers is to give back, and you’re giving back in innumerable ways to maintain and improve the quality of life in this community.”

Mr. Tesei said going forward it will be important to get future generations involved in volunteerism and service as much as older generations and organizations, such as the RMA, have been.

“Each of you here today represents countless numbers of organizations that have given back to this community that have added value to the Greenwich residency,” he said.

Bob Phillips, president of the RMA, told the Post that the anniversary was a significant one and that he was happy to see such appreciation for the ongoing efforts.

“The 60th anniversary of the RMA calls to mind the volunteerism and fellowship of multiple generations of RMA members, and the recent 60th anniversary celebration serves to remind current members and the greater Greenwich community of the many volunteer hours contributed by the RMA to not-for-profit causes as well as the deep camaraderie developed among the membership,” Mr. Phillips said.

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