“I think what I love most about Asbury is the fact that there is such a strong volunteer spirit manifesting itself in so many ways,” says Mary Waldron, winner of Asbury Methodist Village’s 2011 Volunteer Award. “It’s so much fun to see the new people come and take their place in it. It’s contagious. It takes a while to get unpacked and get yourself situated, but all along I think you’re absorbing the tenor of the people here.”
This “tenor” is one that searches out needs and strives to fill them – and if there isn’t a program already devoted to it, then residents will establish one. “No matter how wonderful this place is – and it is – you don’t get it without residents who are willing to work for it,” she notes. Mary is not kidding; there are literally hundreds of resident volunteers who help make Asbury such an energetic and busy campus.
However, Mary freely admits that the enthusiasm of associates at Asbury Methodist Village, and their willingness to collaborate, is also critical to the community’s success. An integral part of that support is Volunteer Coordinator Sharon Bennett, who Mary describes as being “like a little piece of very busy sunshine.” Yet, Sharon is just one of the many associates who bring warmth and energy to the campus. “We always say we have the greatest associates you could ask for,” Mary says. “We feel pretty lucky!”
So does Sharon, who has come to count Mary as a friend. “She’s a delightful lady who always has a smile on her face,” Sharon says. “She’s positive, she’s chic, she’s highly motivated for things to be a certain way in terms of care and services. I really take the things she says to heart.”
When asked what volunteer services led to Mary’s nomination for her 2011 award, Sharon ticks off an exhaustive list that doesn’t begin to cover all of Mary’s commitments. And it’s typical of Mary that she mentions none of this, pointing instead to another Wilson volunteer “who is always here making everybody feel good, all while working several gardens on campus and going just as strong as ever.”
Mary believes that this sense of making a difference serves as an invigorating force for the hundreds of Asbury residents who participate on campus and in the greater community. “I can’t imagine living without volunteering,” she concludes. “I can’t imagine how empty it would be.”