About two years ago, Betty was enjoying lunch at the Kentwood Dining Site and noticed that Jan, the Site Coordinator, need some assistance with serving the meal, and jumped right into help her and the rest is history. Betty has been volunteering on Mondays and Fridays ever since, helping to prep, serve and clean up. When asked why she volunteers, Betty simply says, “to be useful, it helps me feel useful and I get to help others, and when I help others, I am also helping myself.”
Betty also volunteers at Our Daily Bread on Wednesdays and has been with their organization for 12 years and just clocked her 3,000th volunteer hour with them! It is shocking to learn that Betty is in her 90’s, as she is does not look it, and is so busy and active in her community. She speaks about how grateful and blessed she is to be where she is and healthy too and believes in volunteering because, “if you do things for other people, it’s a way to show your gratitude for what you have.” Her favorite part of volunteering at the dining site is her interaction with the people there. She loves to chat with everyone and loves to learn things about people too.
Betty was born and raised in Grand Rapids and graduated from Ottawa High School. After school she went into office work for a while and then switched paths and began working in a local factory that made car parts and furniture trim, she worked here for 18 years before she retired. Betty has two children, a boy and a girl and four grandchildren all together, three boys and one girl. The oldest boy is now in the Marines and another of the boys is in the Air Force, and Betty is a very proud Grandma. When she retired, her focus was spending time with her grandchildren as much as she could. She often took them on camping trips with her to Yogi Bear in Grand Haven and it soon became tradition. Also in her retirement, when Betty is not volunteering, she is tending to her home and taking care of her garden in the summertime as well as taking one day bus trips with other seniors, and day trips to Grand Haven, one of her favorite places, to get coffee and watch the boats go by. Betty loves her church in Hudsonville, and she exercises by taking walks and riding her stationary bike at home 25 miles a week. On exercising and staying healthy, she says, “I don’t want to invite any problems, there are ways to avoid problems for sure, but I don’t want to invite any either.”
Because Betty is active and healthy in her 90’s, she says that people always ask her for her secret to life, and she tells them she doesn’t have a secret, she just has received some helpful advice and has lived through some times where she relied on this kind of advice, “guard your attitude and guard what you allow your mind to think, you are in control of your thoughts. It’s okay to feel bad and sad and let yourself feel that when it comes up, but do not live there in those feelings. Those negative thoughts can cause more problems.” Such profound and wise words from such a lovely and caring person, and advice that we should all write down and try to live by too.
We are so thankful for Betty’s commitment to our program and so grateful to have her as a part of our team. We appreciate her, and others like her who give so generously of their time to the seniors in our community. Thank you, Betty!