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Nominated by Sue McPhee
Length of Service:
50 hours per month for 2 years
Length of Service:
15 hours per month for 3 years
Length of Service:
15 hours per month for 2 years
January 24, 2014
"I just love 'my' seniors," you will hear Pat Mathison say, with a glint in her eye and a broad smile on her face. In her late 60's herself, and facing many physical challenges, Pat takes on more than her fair share of finding ways to offer support to, educate, and connect seniors to services they need and otherwise might not have known about. To say that Pat is dedicated to this end is a major understatement. But Pat's current immersion in the organization she helped to found (GHSS: Greater Hillsboro Senior Services) is not her first and only foray into the world of volunteerism. Even while employed at a Senior Center a few years ago, she went above and beyond her primary duties, working longer hours than she was paid for, taking on tasks and challenges that weren't necessarily in her job description, and constantly seeking ways to improve the lives of the seniors she worked to serve. You might say that her former position at the senior center was really half employment and half volunteer. Today, she transfers all that knowledge and expertise to her current, fully volunteer role as Chairperson of GHSS. At a time in her life when she could still find gainful employment to help out in these lean times, Pat prefers to spend literally hours each week scheduling activities and events that benefit local seniors, taking on the task single-handedly of composing the monthly newsletter (which the local seniors greatly appreciate as this is often their only contact with the community), troubleshooting when a senior has a need that has not been filled (e.g., transport to medical appointments), arranging transportation for local seniors to grocery stores and other shopping needs, and generally taking on full-blast any challenge to the well-being of our local seniors. Two short years ago, GHSS did not exist. Although she will argue the point and not want to take the credit, Pat really did single-handedly get this wonderful organization off the ground. She managed to get other local organizations informed as to the mission of GHSS. She gathered local townsfolk into a forum to discuss the needs of seniors in our area. With no appropriate "center" for local seniors to meet, socialize, be informed and thrive, Pat managed to arrange for a meeting place at a local church. She is instrumental in arranging talks and lectures on subjects pertinent to seniors (safety issues, memory care, local services, etc.) And she does all this with the poise and confidence that make you feel, "Wow! What would the local seniors do without her?"
In the words of the GHSS mission statement: "Greater Hillsborough Senior Services reaches out to seniors to provide support, services, congregate opportunities and advocacy that help them remain active, respected and vital members of their community." Well, an organization can have a mission statement, but without key volunteers, and, in this case, headed up by Pat Mathison, the mission could not be accomplished. Without Pat, this organization would not have even gotten off the ground. No one else had ever even thought of it! Currently she is trying to fundraise for an appropriate and dedicated bus to assist seniors with transport as we live in a community that is 30+ miles from many goods, services and most "specialists."
And this venture is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to Pat's history of volunteerism. She spent three years as a volunteer with a local program called Project Lift, a program of adult learner services. Volunteers assist adults in the surrounding communities to prepare for the GED exam or simply increase their skills in reading, language and math.
Also, when a local building that was being used to house our food pantry fell into dangerous disrepair, Pat (along with other volunteers) stepped up to the plate, attending weekly fundraising meeting, helping to set up events, working on publicity. The final result was that the old building was razed and a new one constructed. Pat's involvement in the fundraising effort was done tirelessly and with great enthusiasm.
Pat also has served as a trustee of our local library since 2008, without compensation. This position is critical to the smooth operation of community library services.
In summary, there are many who believe that Pat should receive the distinction of "a salute to her senior service."
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