The Washington Meals on Wheels, one of the most remarkable volunteer service organizations in this area, and indeed, anywhere, is celebrating its 40th anniversary next week.

If you think that characterization is an overstatement or rank hyperbole, consider this:

In 40 years, this group of volunteers have never missed delivering a meal to the homebound residents it serves.

You heard it right. For the last four decades, seven days a week, in all kinds of weather, and even on holidays, this group of intrepid volunteers has delivered nutritious meals and good cheer to the elderly and shut-ins it serves.

That is an amazing record and the Washington Meals on Wheels program is an incredible organization.

The program got its start in 1972 with perhaps a dozen volunteers. Today several dozen volunteers support the program. They range in age from teenagers to seniors.

Many volunteers have been helping the organization for years. One current volunteer, Program Coordinator Clare Huber, has been with the organization since its inception.

Each day the volunteers meet outside the kitchen at Mercy Hospital Washington to pick up meals that have been prepared and packed in coolers for about 30 homebound residents. They load the coolers in their vehicles and head off in different directions to deliver the meals.

In many cases, the short visit from the volunteers is the only social contact with the outside world the client may experience that day. The volunteers also play a very critical role in checking up on the clients to make sure they are well.

The Washington Meals on Wheels program is something special. We salute this organization on its 40-year run and its outstanding record of volunteer service.