NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mark Rondeau is a driving force behind the Interfaith Action Initiative and used his own money and time to develop and print a Caregiver's Guide. Those efforts have added him to the ranks of the county's top volunteers.
On Monday, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition honored Rondeau with the annual Martin Luther King Peacemaker Award at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center. The award is given to community members who show similar qualities to King. Previous award winners are Dick Dassatti, Shirley Davis and the late Sally Goodrich.
"I think this is a great honor. There have just been a lot of wonderful people who have received this over the years," Rondeau said. "I'm motivated by faith and my community and I think there are a lot of needs now."
Rondeau, a North Adams resident and native, has always been involved with volunteer efforts through his church, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, but recently his involvement has grown. Now working the night shift as an editor at the Bennington (Vt.) Banner, Rondeau said he has time now to do more volunteer work.
Last spring, Rondeau started the Interfaith Action Initiative. That initiative aims to coordinate volunteers of all religions into taking action together. The group is close to beginning a project that will deliver food to low-income families and has future plans to help the Louison House.
Rondeau and his sisters took care of their mother, Frances Rondeau, who had cancer and through that learned caregivers have trouble finding resources. A longtime journalist and editor, Rondeau used his skills to create a pamphlet listing all of the county's resources. The free pamphlet is being left at Council on Agings, libraries and in doctors' offices, among other locations..
"It occurred to me that there was a better need for better resources for people who went through a family caregiving situation and so being a writer and working with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition staff we came up with that," Rondeau said.
After an initial run, Rondeau used his own money to print 1,000 additional copies.
"Mark is a person that is consistently concerned about his community and region, a person for whom social justice is very, very meaningful and who has fought the good fight in many, many ways over the years," Martin Luther King Day Committee Member Steve Green said.
Though Green said it was an easy choice, Rondeau said he was surprised when he received the call saying he won.
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Mark has been very involved in community efforts through the years and always volunteered when he could to help the Neighborhood EXPO,other events and worked on various efforts like peace or hunger marches over the years. He really deserves the attention and has been long overlooked for this recognition!!