June 2, 1993 was the first Community Meeting and the first Steering Committee Meeting was held on July 9, 1993. The first training session was conducted during August 8-12 of that year, with 19 volunteers being trained. From that beginning a total of over 600 volunteers have been trained and these volunteers have made over 300,000 contacts in the efforts to meet the needs of widowed persons in the Mobile and surrounding areas. Any person who has been widowed 18 months or more and has participated in a support group is eligible to train as a volunteer.
The Widowed Persons Service of Greater Mobile has collected an impressive array of local and national awards in its short history. A collection of plaques, certificates, and trophies from such diverse sources as the Mayor's office, the Alabama Governor's office, the J.C. Penny Company, and the Greater Gulf State Fair, all recognizing the program's unique contributions to Mobile and Baldwin counties is on display at the WPS office. Mobile was also selected by AARP as one of five pilot locations for its "From Loss to New Life" program.
AARP recognized WPS of Greater Mobile as the most outstanding program in the nation in 1995 and 1997 with our Program Director and Founder, Mary Yarber Quinnelly being recognized as an Outstanding Individual at the WPS National Convention. The Mobile area WPS has received the AARP Community Spirit award in 1998.
2013 Southeast Grief & Loss Conference....
WPS co-sponsored this conference, along with The Compassionate Friends and Bay Area Grief Coalition. It was held August 15-17, 2013 at the Ashbury Hotel & Conference Center in Mobile. It included sixteen workshops and a keynote speaker to provide information on specific topics and issues for the bereaved and those who seek to assist them.
It was also the time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of WPS and to honor our founder and Program Director, Mary Yarber Quinnelly. Proclamations were read from Gov. Robert Bentley and from City Council Member Ms. Bess Rich.