It was only 30 degrees but a recent winter’s day found Shady Cove senior citizen, DeLores Williams, putting seasonal "Snowflake" flags around town. Although cold, this lifelong volunteer performed her task with a smile while enriching the beauty of this small town on the river.
Volunteering is a way of life for Williams who was raised in the Pacific Northwest. When Williams was a child, she had contracted tuberculosis and spent a large amount of time in the hospital. A volunteer did her best to keep Williams entertained during her yearlong bout with this illness.
One day the volunteer brought a dress, high heels and jewelry for
Williams to play dress-up, to pass the time. Williams remembers lying
in the hospital bed pretending to be a grownup. She never forgot that
act of kindness. And she knew at a young age, she too, would be a
volunteer when she grew up.
Williams began her
volunteering with husband Roger, as foster parents to newborn babies
and in the women’s auxiliary of the Mt. Diablo Medical Center,
California. Giving a loving start to the babies and volunteering at the
center, including the emergency room, gave Williams a true
satisfaction. This was not without occasionally shedding some tears,
however, she admitted.
About four years ago, the Williams’
moved to Shady Cove to live near their son. They had left behind their
friends of many years and the rest of their family. It was rough
starting over but Williams knew the key to becoming a real part of the
She began by joining the Upper
Rogue Moose Lodge #2480 where she can be found most Friday nights
serving dinner to her friends or selling tickets. Volunteers are what
keep this fraternal organization vital. Although some think of Moose as
a social club, many of the functions are based on community
Next, Williams joined the Greater
Shady Cove Boosters, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to
beautify the city. The Boosters are responsible for the colorful flags
and other projects that give Shady Cove that special ambience,
compelling visitors to return.
Today, Williams also takes
part in highway trash cleanup, river cleanup, serving on boards and is
a Neighborhood Watch captain while being a good neighbor and friend to
Looking back, Williams said one of the highlights
while volunteering in the Upper Rogue was serving dinner in the pouring
rain to a group of traveling bicyclists. As she doled out meat loaf and
mashed potatoes under a canopy, she had the privilege of meeting
visitors from places such as Europe and Japan. They thanked her
profusely as she served them but she felt she was the true recipient of
the pleasure, she said.
In fact, Williams gets "pure joy"
from working for the betterment of her community. She said,
"Volunteering gives me a purpose in life. There is a real happiness in
doing something for someone else."
By Margaret Bradburn