Maggie B, 84, wakes up to a bright September sun. She rises slowly from the same bed in the same house she’s slept in for nearly 60 years. Maggie is excited about the day ahead — she is going to visit her friends at SC’s Adventures in Learning, where she’ll participate in an exercise class and then attend a foreign affairs discussion led by a retired reporter.
Since Maggie no longer drives, she’s riding with an SC volunteer (who also drives her weekly to the grocery store and to her medical appointments). Maggie will stay for lunch with her friends. Today is going to be another great day thanks to the Shepherd’s Center.
“So appreciate your generous hearts and dedicated work on behalf of the seniors in our area.”
“What can I say after I say “thank you, thank you, thank you..”? Special wishes for continued success in all you do to provide needed support for seniors in our community. I will never be able to thank you enough.”
“This is a wonderful gift that you offer to the community. It means a lot. May the Lord bless you for all you do.”
“What special ‘neighbors’ you are in our community.”
“I want you to know, however, that your gifts put a genuine big smile on my face for the first time in quite a long time.”
“Thank you for all you do, being kind and courteous on the phone.”
“I was referred by a friend to connect my parents who were in great need as the family was busy transitioning them to Virginia from Maryland. We, my siblings and I, were overwhelmed with our parents many perpetual needs and you were like an oasis in difficult times. We are grateful we found you, but ever more grateful that you are there. What a beautiful organization it is. The volunteers are gems, truly. God bless you for your work.”
Whenever the navy blue sedan pulls around the corner near her small suburban apartment, the diminutive 69-year-old is always eagerly waiting outside. Oxygen tank in tow, she begins to make her way to the curb. The car glides up – always on time – and from the driver’s seat, Jeanne Coleman emerges to help Mildred in, gently placing her oxygen nearby. This has been the scene every couple of weeks for the last two years on the quiet suburban street.
Jeanne moved from North Carolina, retiring after 38 years as a CPA to be closer to her grandchildren. Upon retirement she vowed to volunteer and after moving to Oakton, she connected with the Shepherd’s Center to offer her services for those without transportation like Mildred. “I was very impressed with the volunteer interview process,” says Jeanne. “Shepherd’s Center really makes sure those lending a hand are qualified and vetted to give the best service to those in need.”
Between her diabetes, hypertension, COPD, and heart disease, Mildred is a regular at various doctors and specialists around Oakton-Vienna. Without wheels, she’d have a hard time reliably getting to her appointments. “Why, I’d go broke on taxi fares,” she says. “And miss appointments, too. I don’t know what I’d do if Shepherd’s Center wasn’t around. My health would be negatively impacted for sure.”
Since 1997, Shepherd’s Center has been helping people like Mildred live independent, healthy lives. And we’ve been doing it through volunteers like Jeanne who want to give back and help others.
“It might seem like such a simple thing,” Jeanne says of her service with Shepherd’s Center. “But to folks like Mildred, it really is an incredible lifeline.”