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Nominated by Mary Lackey
Length of Service:
80+ hours per month for 7 years
February 28, 2014
From the moment Gene Chapedos moved to the Wasilla Area Seniors Campus (WASI) in November of 2007, she has been one of the most involved volunteers around. Nothing kept her from making a difference - Rain, Snow, Wind, Sleet, or Ice - Gene walks the quarter mile outdoors, including climbing a hill, to get from her apartment to the center. Every morning, Gene arrived prior to any of the staff, eager to get to work. Gene's volunteer dedication is second to none. Nothing stopped her! Even when the elevator was under repair she carried her walker down three levels of stairs so she could get to work.
For many years worked inside the WASI office at the front counter. She greeted members and visitors, answered the busy phone, sent birthday cards, fielded questions, made appointments... She helped in any way she could, including training new staff. I remember that after my first week of employment the Office Manager was scheduled for vacation, I would have been worried, but I was okay just knowing Gene would be there for me.
As time went on, Gene left the front desk in good hands and went elsewhere to make things better: she adopted the coffee counter as her responsibility. Just like everything else Gene set her mind to do, it was important that the counter be perfectly stocked and properly functioning. At 83 years old, Gene rolled into the kitchen every day, loaded her walker with trays of coffee mugs - and even though they were heavy, she absolutely handled them perfectly, by herself. She never missed a chance to serve others, ensuring every morning began with a warm greeting and hot cup. The coffee bar never ran smoother, and everyone counted on her greeting each day.
However, Gene wasn't satisfied with making things better, she wanted to make EVERYTHING better, so having turned the coffee bar into a well-running machine, she headed to the library. WASI seniors are voracious readers, so Gene took up assisting the WASI librarian organizing the library and kept the books shelved properly. She fetched books for Seniors not as spry as she, and generally made sure everyone enjoyed their time in the library as much - or more - than the books they came to read.
Gene has provided years of joy to WASI residents, members and visitors. She serves constantly and consistently, making her more than a valuable worker, but a beloved friend to all.
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