A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE RSVP

You see them driving around our neighborhoods, but do you know what they do? I’m talking about the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP). They are the eyes and ears of the San Diego Police Department (SDPD). In an effort to give you insight into what exactly this valuable group of volunteers does, I spent two days with them. The first day we covered Scripps Ranch and the second day Mira Mesa. There are two patrols each day, six days a week. One patrols Mira Mesa and the other patrols Scripps Ranch.

We started both days at the RSVP “headquarters” for our area, the SDPD storefront at 8450 Mira Mesa Boulevard. The volunteer patrols meet there to check in, get their computer, and let SDPD dispatch know they’re in a vehicle.

My partners the first day were Floyd Kellman and Barry Klopstein. The second day I rode with Bob Antipuesto and Celto Benitez. They have been volunteering for the RSVP between one and five years. The common thread among these men was their volunteer spirit and their desire to help people. I found them to be very dedicated, and they loved what they were doing.

Day one started out by going to the police substation in Rancho Penasquitos to deliver mail. Our substation’s territory is: Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Mountain, Poway, Sabre Springs, Scripps Ranch, and Mira Mesa. The whole area is 100 square miles!

Our first check in Scripps Ranch was a power distribution station—I didn’t even know this existed! Traveling around Scripps we went to banks, credit unions, the library, Evans Pond, and Miramar Lake—which I found out is 110’ deep.

We also went to every school. Along the way we did vacation house checks. This entailed checking the front door, the garage, going in the backyard and checking the back door, and checking the windows. Vacation checks are made every day except Sunday. There were also pump station checks, ensuring that everything is locked and secure. We also made a You Are Not Alone (YANA) stop—checking on the elderly. We spent 15 minutes with Virginia. It was a lovely visit.

Going to every park in Scripps Ranch was part of our schedule and recorded on our computer. Traveling out to StoneBridge, I learned that there is a water tower and a lovely park in that neighborhood. More banks and schools to check on our way back to the storefront. We traveled 73 miles that day.

My second day was spent in Mira Mesa. The first stop was the library parking lot and then we did our first of four YANA checks. We said hello to Tom, who is 86 and who loves our visits. We are sometimes his only visitor. Off to check schools, banks, and many more parks. Driving through the Mira Mesa mall and Target shopping center, I was so tempted to pick up a few items, but duty called!

Three more YANA visits: Connie and Rafael, who are 74 and 78, and Elaine, who is 83. These elderly visits mean so much to the people and to our volunteers. The RSVP folks are very dedicated and want to be with the people. The elderly also are very appreciative of the visits. We went to another pump station to check the locks, then more banks, parks, and schools. All these checks are recorded on the computer. We had driven 36 miles that morning.

We had to get back before noon because there was an RSVP graduation at the War Memorial Building in Balboa Park that we were scheduled to attend. There were 20 graduates and two would join the Mira Mesa-Scripps Ranch RSVP. Our new RSVP members are Dorothy Jones and James Judilla.

Mayor Bob Filner was one of the speakers, as well as SDPD Chief Bill Lansdowne. They both spoke of the wonderful support RSVP provides the police and community. Many countries come and learn about the RSVP to duplicate in their own country—what an awesome message we are sending to the world.

Our contribution is not only to Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa but to the city of San Diego. Come by the storefront and chat with our members or contact John Sunde, RSVP administrator, at 538-8156 or [[email protected]] to join this important community organization. The only requirements are to have a valid California driver’s license, be 50 years or older, retired or semi-retired, go through a background check, spend one week at an academy, and donate 3½ days a month.

To have a vacation home check or be included in the YANA program, please contact John Sunde or visit the SRCA website at [www.scrippsranch.org/committees/advisory-committees/rsvp.html]. I had a terrific time with the RSVP volunteers!

Pat Clark, RSVP Board Member