Volunteerism fills retiree’s time

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Joyce Mercer gives back via HMH, senior program

By Amber Coulter

Joyce Mercer of Vine Grove never thought when she retired that she would continue working for no pay.

She decided she wanted to give back to the community after she and her husband sold their dry cleaning business in Vine Grove in 1990.

Mercer began volunteering at the greeter’s desk at Hardin Memorial Hospital, where she has pitched in for more than 25 years.

While with the hospital’s auxiliary program, a woman told Mercer another volunteer opportunity existed in the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program. The program offers seniors a small stipend to volunteer in a variety of capacities.

The program is currently seeking volunteers.

Mercer still works with the hospital and the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program eight years later.

She has been helping in the pharmacy of the Community Health Clinic of Hardin and LaRue Counties Elizabethtown for the past year with the volunteer program, drawing on her nine years of experience of working at Radcliff Drugs.

The clinic is a charitable facility that uses a volunteer staff to provide basic health care to uninsured, low-income residents of Hardin and LaRue counties.

Mercer was willing to volunteer in any capacity necessary. She saw the Community Health Clinic was seeking help and she enjoys that type of work.

She also enjoys the appreciation she sees demonstrated by the people in need who she helps.

“That kind of builds you up,” she said.

Mercer’s husband, who sold his carpet cleaning business in 2000, also decided to join the volunteer program.

Mercer said neither of them collect a stipend for their work because they simply want to pitch in.

“We just like to do things that might help out and make for a better community,” she said. “We enjoy doing things that other people might benefit from.”

That doesn’t mean the couple gets nothing back from volunteer efforts, Mercer said.

“I guess it just makes us feel better if we do something to help others,” she said. “I feel like it’s a good thing.”

Volunteerism also has filled many retirement hours that might have been dull with important work, Mercer said.

“I guess after we retired, we felt a need to get out and do something and just be busy,” she said. “It helps us get out among people. I think that’s good for us.”

Mercer recently has had fewer hours than her typical eight to 10 a month to commit to the volunteer program. She was working about half that much because her husband has a medical condition that requires more of her time to care for him.

Flexible hours are another reason Mercer enjoys working in the program.

She recommends it to others and has no immediate plans to give up the work that has filled some of her retirement hours with valuable service.

For more information about the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, call 737-1059.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com. Her Stories From the Heartland column appears Mondays in The News-Enterprise.