Mary had a career in sales of home accessories. She lived in Silicon Valley and was on call to Memorex and Unisys. She has three adult children. Mary and her husband Edward retired to VOC 30 years ago. After a couple of years Mary grew tired of playing golf twice a week, Mary wanted to do something more. She learned about VVCC and volunteered.
Mary spent 18 years as a volunteer in the VVCC office starting in the basement of the Church of the Red Rocks and moved with the office each time, finally working in the VVCC office Uptown. She was on the Board for a couple of years, has driven, provided respite and shopping services. Her late husband also volunteered providing respite services.
Here is what she has to say about her experience volunteering:
Over the nearly 18 years that I volunteered, I met many people who shared their interesting lives with me and became friends. One "neighbor", as we refer to those we help, was a published poet, another a retired Lockheed Manager who accompanied the delivery of a plane to France and was "wined and dined" for a few days by the French, and another, formerly from Texas, was host to the wedding reception of a known radio commentator on her estate in Dallas. As most Sedona residents are aware, we live in a diverse and talented community and you'll never know who you might meet when you respond to a call for help from VVCC. When need becomes a factor in life, it doesn't matter who you are because you can always call VVCC for help.
Volunteering for "Caregivers" is so important for those in need of help in our community and extremely gratifying for the volunteer. VVCC asks only that a volunteer commit any available time they might have to help another. A few hours of a volunteer’s time can make someone’s life much easier.
Now Mary is a client, herself. She has the loan of an emergency alert device. She has not requested transportation because she still drives herself and neighbors and friends volunteer to run errands for her.
When asked if it occurred to her when she was volunteering that sometime she might need the service herself she said, “There were times that those of us in the office would say, ‘ that will be us someday’.”
Having seen VVCC from both sides, volunteer and client, she says VVCC has grown in different and positive ways. She credits current Director Kent Elsworth with guiding VVCC into the organization it is today. The Verde Vallley is “a very lucky community to have VVCC.” We have a caring community.
I recently had a vivid experience while transporting a neighbor named Rosemary to a doctor’s appointment and back to her apartment. Rosemary informed me that she needed to pick up her prescriptions, but the stop was not in my manifest. Looking at my schedule I realized that I had time to pick up the prescription between other neighbor transports. I asked her to call VVCC’s Call Center about the request and that I would gladly pick up the prescription.
When I arrived back to pick up Rosemary’s payment to purchase her prescriptions, I found Rosemary sitting in her chair with a blood pressure monitor on her wrist. It was obvious that she was in distress by the look on her face, and she asked me to please stay and sit down with her. She informed me that her blood pressure was not coming down and that had alarmed her, causing some anxiety. She had called the doctor’s office that I took her to that morning.
She shared her concerns about her blood pressure not coming down after her doctor’s visit that morning. She mentioned to them that I was there with her and I was to pick up prescriptions for her. The lady on the phone with Rosemary told her to have me go and get the prescriptions for her. So, making sure Rosemary would be okay before I left, I went to pick up her prescriptions. When I returned to Rosemary’s apartment, she was so glad to see me with her prescriptions in my hands. Rosemary asked if I would stay awhile with her. I saw she was still distressed. But I had another neighbor to take grocery shopping. I called the neighbor to let him know that I would be delayed due to an unexpected incident. He gladly consented. He told me he was in no hurry and to take as much time as I needed. Now with time to comfort Rosemary, she began to share about how she dealt with anxiety that brought on fear of the worst. I asked Rosemary if there was anyone that I could call for her, like a family member, a friend or neighbor. Rosemary said she had no one, no one in her life to call. I began to turn my attention to the anxiety that she was experiencing at that time. I continued by sharing my past experiences with anxiety and how my faith helped me.
Rosemary asked if I would pray with her. I did and before I left, I knew Rosemary and I were at peace and content. I assured her that she was going to be fine and I knew that spending that extra time with Rosemary and the conversation we had changed both of us for the good: for her, a compassionate act from a service provider brought peace and comfort; for me, a reminder and a resurgence of the desire in my heart to provide assistance and care for the elderly, which brought me to work for Verde Valley Caregivers.
It is rewarding and an accomplishment to partner with the men and women associated with VVCC. We become the comfort, the family member, neighbor, son or daughter, the hands, the feet, legs, and voice for our elderly community members of the Verde Valley. As a service provider with this wonderful institution, we provide, present, and extend the benefits, aims and values of the Verde Valley Caregivers’ mission statement. I have been told on many occasions by our neighbors, that VVCC is a God send.