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Volunteer is Bright Light

April is National Volunteer Month and John Knox Village is full of residents who give of themselves in a wide variety of ways. We’re shining a light on just one of them this month.

It’s her bright smile. It’s the way she knows the residents so well that she knows who likes extra crackers, what a resident’s favorite dessert is, who likes extra milk, and then will have it all ready for them. It’s that she goes above and beyond in the little things that make resident volunteer Mary McElhiney invaluable at Fireside Dining.

Mary has been volunteering three days a week at Fireside Dining for six years. She began soon after she and her husband, Jerry, moved to the Village. She is a dining escort, helping residents who have wheelchairs or walkers bring their meal to the table. Cindy Stamm, manager of Fireside Dining, said Mary has such a positive attitude, and does so many little things to help everyone.

“Everyone just loves her, the staff and associates,” Cindy said. “She just lifts everyone’s spirits and has such a sweet disposition, the residents just always look forward to seeing her.”

Mary said she loves doing it because of the people and the relationships she’s built at  Fireside Dining.

“I get so much more out of it than what I’m helping them with,” Mary said. “I just love the residents there and the staff is terrific. I think of one resident in particular, who I had built a great friendship with. After he had passed away, for several weeks, I would still watch for him to come into the restaurant. It’s just special. This is really my chance to give back and I love what I do.”

Mary also volunteers two days a week at the Auxiliary Thrift Shop, working at the counter. Greeting and getting to know those customers is what she enjoys most about that volunteer position. She has volunteered there for seven years.

“What has been unique is that many customers will come on the same day each week, and we get to know them,” Mary said. “There are just so many wonderful opportunities to volunteer at the Village. It’s very rewarding to be doing this type of work.”

There are many volunteer openings throughout the Village. For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact Kelli Snell at 347-2883.