What started as a focus on a red, white and blue theme of a central flagpole turned into a quest for yellow on Friday when I (Eureka-Wildwood Patch editor Julie Brown Patton) volunteered at Hilltop Manor in Eureka.
As part of the Patch company's dedication to community volunteerism, I went to the Hilltop Manor residence in Eureka because the staff had indicated they would like to redo the flagpole landscape area that welcomes all visitors outside of their main lobby at the building. My attention quickly turned toward the yellow dandelion plants waving in the air, scattered throughout the building's front area like a mini-team of ambitious greeters, at the flagpole and beyond.
What is it about dandelions that can be so cheery but so frustrating at the same time?
I was quickly offered smiles and a cup of coffee by the site's manager Debbie Fakes, who indicated that the building was part of the Lutheran Senior Services. She said she was happy to see me attacking the dandelions because they served as a springtime irritant to residents, staff and guests alike.
It didn't take long for residents to wonder what I was doing outside with a bucket and gloves, hovering at ground level. Bill Waddell, who has lived at Hilltop Manor for nearly a year, came outside and helped me spot the menacing yellow plants. I asked if he had ever had dandelion wine, and he remembered his family making "greens," which is something my grandmother, Zita, used to talk about doing. It was very nice to have Bill's company.
One by one, to my delight, residents brought out their dogs to meet me. I was so inspired to see a senior citizens' home that allowed dogs! The dogs soaked up the attention, sharing that loving, appreciative look that only dogs can yield, and added another delightful dimension to my visit.
It was obvious that the flagpole area does get a lot of attention, as evidenced by the many drop-offs and bus loads coming and going. Many were trying to get their groceries inside from buses before the next round of storms hit. I enjoyed their accountings of where all items were shifting at Walmart, due to the remodeling.
My volunteering adventure drew me inside before I left, which held a whole other group of beehive activity. Some women were waiting to go to the Shaw Nature Reserve for a field trip. Others were plotting out lunch options. Some tried Culver's restaurant pot roast and butter burgers for the first time because a Hilltop Manor manager graciously tagged on special orders to her lunch roundtrip.
What stood out to me was how much this building was a small community within our larger one. I have driven by it frequently, not realizing how many people lived there and what all stories their lives reflect.
Hilltop Manor was a good reminder of what it's like to be focused on helping each other just get through a normal day. They actually spend time discussing options with each other. It was apparent they didn't always agree with one another, but that didn't stop them from moving forward, sometimes together, sometimes independently. It made me want to learn more about each person's values, and how they made their daily decisions.
Last week was national volunteer week. One door at Hilltop Manor was covered with sticky notes, designed to give all folks a chance to pat others on the back for good deeds they have volunteered. A glance revealed such a great assortment of contributions to our community, including activities that reached outside of their building, such as serving as Girl Scout leaders and delivering meals to homebound seniors. I applaud the collective efforts of the Hilltop Manor staff, residents and relatives for taking care of each other and our community. It made me want to be a part of the goodness happening there.
Voluteerism is Foundation of Patch
Patch was founded on the principle that being part of a community also means giving back. That’s why Patch sites make it easy for volunteers to connect with local organizations and why Patch editorial teams provide support through the Patch Give 5 program.
Patch gives 5 percent of its advertising space, free of charge, to local charities from the communities Patch serves. Please contact us for qualifications.
Through "Giving 5 Days," Patch employees spend five working days each year volunteering in communities.
The Eureka-Wildwood Patch team also enjoys devoting editorial coverage to local charities. Be sure to create announcements on Patch about your charitable events and projects, and to ensure they also are listed on our Patch calendar.