24 Apr Best of Both Worlds
Though both serve essential roles and are vital components of our mission as a charity, the volunteer experience at the House and the volunteer experience at the Family Room could not be more different. With our Family Room being at NWTHS and the House sitting across the pond (literally) on the other side of the medical district, the volunteers at each location might not cross paths outside of our volunteer dinners, and are not only exposed to totally different faces and often times totally different families being served, but they also fill very different roles to help us achieve our mission. With the Family Room operating on a completely volunteer-run basis, our helpers at that location essentially act as the “manager” on duty assisting families and overseeing the services and resources on-site. Whereas the House is really just like a big ole house, and the volunteers often work alongside our staff to take care of housekeeping, laundry, clerical, office, and sorting/organizing tasks…all things that you are likely to do at your home too!
One volunteer who has been able to experience the best of both worlds is Elaine Reese. Elaine originally comes from Mexhoma, OK. If you aren’t familiar with that locale you aren’t in bad company… it’s an unincorporated community and she told us it was about as smack dab in the middle of the country as you could…26 miles from the nearest town in ANY direction! She thinks this may be why she STILL likes to drive fast when she’s on the road!
Elaine was first introduced to our house when her grandson was in the hospital receiving care. Her daughter-in-law’s family stayed with us, and Elaine came out to visit and take a tour of our facilities. That was about 15 years ago. We often talk about just how cyclical life tends to be, and that definitely speaks for how Elaine winded up getting plugged back in with the House. Just 4 years ago she retired from a career as a teacher and started researching places where she could volunteer her time. Our House somehow managed to keep coming up at the top of her search results, so she saw that as a sign, called, and we put her to work!
We are totally impressed that since we all started staying at home to help flatten the curve, Elaine managed to complete a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle in the first 19 days. She has also been taking this time at home to catch up on reading and finally got around to watching “The Greatest Showman.” Once this quarantine has lifted, Elaine most looks forward to getting out to have lunch with friends and of course getting back to volunteer with us because she misses our staff and our willingness to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our families!
We already mentioned that Elaine may like to cruise a bit fast in her car, but she also prefers doing it with the top down and the wind in tow, as she still drives her convertible! If you run into Elaine at a McDonald’s, it will probably be during the breakfast hours so she can stock up on sausage Egg McMuffins. She’s pretty confident her son’s first words were “burger, fries”, as he would always notice when they would pass the Golden Arches anytime they would go somewhere.
We are so grateful to have Elaine on Team RMHC! Thank you so much for all you do to help our staff at the House and care for our incredible families at the Ronald McDonald Family Room!